The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a challenge that should appeal to all genealogists: take pictures of your surrounding environment to become part of historical record. By creating pictures of the environment today and adding them to the historical record, you can help document changes. The result should help your descendants and all future generations.
The EPA's Locations Challenge looks to update a 40-year old agency project known as 'Documerica' which included more than 15,000 photographs of images of American environmental problems and everyday life. In the 1970s the EPA hired freelance photographers to capture images relating to environmental problems for the project. With recent budget cuts, hiring hundreds of photographers is no longer an option. However, the EPA hopes to continue, and even expand, the project through the efforts of volunteers. This "crowdsourcing" could improve the project far beyond what it has been in the past.
The "challenge" from the EPA states:
Choose an original Documerica photo either from the ones we post for each challenge or one you find yourself. Go to the location where that Documerica photo was taken, possibly even the exact spot where that photographer stood to take the photo 40-odd years ago, and "re-take" a current photo of the same scene. Read more about the photo on Flickr, for additional clues about location or subject matter that might help you. If the challenge includes more than one Documerica photo, choose one or as many as you like. The EPA will select photos that best show the new "after" view of the same original "before" Documerica photo.
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