Model & Strategy

The Problem
Conservation efforts are often shaped by data: the size of a population, the integrity of an environment, how quickly it is being reduced, and how effectively certain approaches can facilitate recovery. Yet leaders working at the cutting edge of conservation science and climate solutions are often constrained by a lack of access to critical field data and funding from government agencies. As a result, scientists working on today’s most pressing issues –– from deforestation to coral reef degradation –– are often hindered by a lack of high-quality, large-scale data from the field.

The Solution
Adventure Scientists equips scientists and conservation leaders with high-quality data collected outdoors that is crucial to addressing environmental challenges. By tapping into the capacity of outdoor enthusiasts and community volunteers to gather data at a scale that is typically difficult and/or costly to obtain by traditional methods, it is a cost-effective and powerful accelerator to conservation. They partner with and provide this data to research institutions, NGOs, and government agencies tackling pressing environmental challenges, thereby accelerating solutions. In addition, they publish the data on open-source platforms so it is available to scientists worldwide, enabling them to ask broader questions and meaningfully advance their work.

In their first 12 years, Adventure Scientists designed and executed over 150 projects with their partners. Volunteers collected samples of the highest-known plant life on Earth from Mount Everest, which are now used to increase crop yields around the world through natural symbiosis with fungi from the samples. They gathered genetic samples from six species of trees, which are used to combat illegal deforestation and promote sustainable forests. They also built the largest dataset for microplastic pollution, which more than 250 governments and NGOs are using to address this pervasive issue. Adventure Scientists has engaged nearly 20K volunteers in projects to date, empowering people to become informed advocates for nature and allowing them to help address what can feel like overwhelming environmental challenges. Today, Adventure Scientists is significantly scaling their impact by launching a new map-based digital marketplace on which thousands of volunteers can post their upcoming expeditions and home bases, and hundreds of scientists can post their data-collection needs, allowing for more efficient connections and, thus, accelerating conservation solutions.

Adventure Scientists logo
At a Glance
Founded: 2011
Founder & Executive Director: Gregg Treinish
Environment & Climate Change
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast, West Coast, Midwest, Southwest, Southeast, South Central, International, Latin America
Adventure Scientists
Bozeman, MT
Explore. Collect. Protect.
Gregg Treinish of Adventure Scientists
Meet Gregg Treinish

Gregg Treinish founded Adventure Scientists with a deep passion for exploration of the natural world. During a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2004, Gregg began to feel a strong desire to make a difference with his time in the outdoors. The feeling grew as he earned an Adventurer of the Year honor when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile, 22-month trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range while studying sustainability.

Through his experiences researching lynx, wolverines, bears, owls, and sturgeon, Gregg learned that scientific data collection can be easy to teach – even to a layperson. Additionally, he gained an appreciation of the extensive need for scientific data that permeates the conservation community. Gregg was included on the Christian Science Monitor‘s “30 Under 30” list in 2012, and the following year became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work. In 2013, he was named a Backpacker Magazine “hero,” one of Men’s Journal’s “50 Most Adventurous Men” in 2015, and an Ashoka Fellow in 2017. He is also a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.


Volunteers have collected thousands of samples from across the ranges of threatened tree species, enabling the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute timber poachers — a $150B per year global issue.

Volunteers have collected water quality data from 117 wild and scenic rivers across the U.S., enabling federal and state agencies to improve accountability and inform river policy, protection, and management decisions.

Harvard Medical School used scat samples collected from around the world to identify genes responsible for antibiotic-resistant infections, a key step towards new forms of treatment for superbugs.