KINGSTON - The Champlin Foundations, which has donated more than $13 million to the University of Rhode Island since 1986, has awarded the University $651,774 to fund four new educational and research projects.
This award is the largest single-year gift that the Champlin Foundations has given the school.
$150,500 of the grant will be put toward an ambitious coastal monitoring program spearheaded by Professor of Oceanography John King. King will use the grant money to purchase a state-of-the-art Light Detection and Ranging system that will replace the current surveying tools that limit the research to a small coastal area.
“It’s a real cutting edge technology,” said King. “It’s like we’ve skipped a century. We’ve used surveying techniques from the 1800s up until now. We’ve gone from that to a laser.”
The laser is a LiDAR system that will allow students and researchers at URI to measure the erosion of the entire southern coastline in one day. King hopes to expand the program statewide.
“I don’t think anybody has set up a state-wide monitoring program,” said King. “This is relatively unique. Things are dynamic enough that we need to look at a wider area at a more frequent interval. That’s what this equipment is all about.”
The LiDAR system shoots a laser beam from either a tripod on the beach or from a moving vessel. When the laser beam hits targets on the shore, they reflect off and create data that the students and researchers can use in their studies.
This research was made necessary by a dwindling coastline caused by global warming.