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Michigan researchers turn to public to help fund wolf research

Wolves on Isle Royale
Photo from petridish.org
The wolves of Isle Royale

Two Northern Michigan scientists are turning to the public for funding help.

Michigan Tech researcher Rolf Peterson studies the wolf population on Isle Royale National Park. Peterson says the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, has helped fund the bulk of the research on the island for the past several decades.

But he says the funding has remained flat, while expenses have increased. So he and his colleague, John Vucetich, are among the first researchers to try out a new crowd-funding site for scientists called Petridish.

"Researchers are not used to thinking of soliciting donations for $5 and $10 to finance large scale observatories or intensive genetic studies," explains Peterson, "but it’s a different age today and so I think it’s time to enable the public to participate."

Peterson hopes to raise $10,000 in 30 days to help pay for DNA analysis of wolf scat he collected from the island.

A total of 14 projects are featured on the new website, which went live in February.

Similar to other crowdfunding sites, if Peterson and Vuceticch don't raise the $10,000 in a set amount of days, the project doesn't get funded.

You can learn more about the Isle Royale wolf research team and the wildlife here.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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