Joe Skopek

Co-Founder and Director of Product

Joe Skopek

Co-Founder and Director of Product

Joe Skopek brings a diverse array of on-the-ground experience leveraging advancements in technology to achieve mission and outreach goals for environmental organizations. His approach is rooted in maximizing current, and emerging, capabilities to quickly scale up the performance and extend the reach of ecological efforts at the local level.

“Technology and know-how currently exists that can exponentially accelerate the capacity of organizations in their efforts to identify, conserve and restore ecological health in a transitioning climate.”

At The Copernicus Project, Joe’s role has been to spearhead the identification, creation and innovation of purpose-built tools for environmental groups working at the local level. These tools support the growth and expansion of mission through applied efficiencies and data capture. This is most noteworthy in organizations working toward ecological assessment, cataloging, preservation and restoration. Joe was also the driving force behind the creation of a Journal to function as a clearinghouse of vetted data and information to be used by decision makers and the informed public. features interviews with leaders in a diverse array of areas affecting the environment and the health and wellness of the community.

This diagram displays the components of the product ecosystem, each element is purpose-built to work in harmony with the other.

Journal Copernicus is an online magazine dedicated to shedding light on new, and emerging, innovations in eco-tech and a clearinghouse for vetted science and technology information. The magazine is produced 6 times a year with each  issue focused on a particular area; Marine Coastal Ecosystems, Public and Private Forests, Greening Cities, and Sustainable Food Production. is the Organization Dashboard built on a AI responsive User Interface. It includes a purpose-built platform of tools created specifically for ecological nonprofits. Two pilot project locations were defined, Oyster Bay New York (focused on Marine Ecosystem tools) and Yolo Forest, Montana (focused on tools that allow for quick assessment of natural capital in the woodlands).

Watersite App: Following in-the-field assessment of current EPA Unified Water Quality testing procedures it was determined that much of the record keeping was manually entered into a hand written spreadsheet. Watersite automates the input process to a digital experience on an smart phone or tablet. The benefits are two-fold; 1- Less error or confusion due to legibility of handwritten data, 2- Digital entries can display data on live map where previous entries might take weeks or months before availability to the general public.

The Copernicus Project is the umbrella organization providing the framework and day-to-day operations support. Some early stage components for the platform are first tested on the site, for example; Green Search (discover nearby nonprofits and get involved locally) and the Nature App (explore the power of GIS in assessing ecological health and risk).

The platform is designed to function as a organization outreach and fundraising tool. Within the tool are regional Apps that support the mission and simplify the Program Director’s role. For example, beachclean is one of the Pilot programs Apps used to test the viability of gamification of beach cleanups to increase turn out of middle and high school age students during beach events. This tool would be available by default if the user was located in a region with beaches. forestsight is a Lidar based smart phone scanner App than can be used by community members to catalogue ecosystem diversity of a local forest. This App would be included for locations that have forests. In addition, common day-to-day routines shared by all environmental nonprofit organizations (Outreach via Social Media, Fundraising, Event Planning etc.) are automated, freeing up the team members time for mission critical aspects.

The platform is currently in the final stage of pre-launch development and early release demos are expected this summer.

Joe’s professional history begins in New York City working for a traditional boutique Advertising Firm with an actual “Mad Man”, several years later moving out west to San Francisco discovering the world wide web at a spaghetti social. Excited by the promise of the new technology Joe immersed himself in the medium, co-authoring the book Web Media Magic for designers making the switch to the web and building MMOG (massively multiplayer online games) at Bay Area interactive agencies Mind Scape and Broderbund.

Fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, Joe secured a role as employee #21 with the pre-public interactive advertising agency Organic. Heady days in the infancy of the internet working for a company that would go on to dominate the space to this very day. While at Organic he produced web projects for Ages of Myst, Levi’s Red Hot & Blue, and an early version of

Following Organic, Joe was offered the position of Creative Director at Red Ball Interactive, acquired by Think New Ideas who was then acquired by AnswerThink (lot’s of acquisitions back then). During his tenure at Think, during the first internet boom in San Francisco, he led the first large-scale web projects for Avery Dennison, Getty Images and Visa Interactive. Once the final acquisition was complete he was redundant, became a free agent and co-founded Chromatrope, with three industry colleagues shortly after the dot-bomb.

Chromatrope was intentionally designed to be different, its mission was to provide agency-level services focused specifically on the non profit community. Early bay area clients included Planetworks, Many One Networks and The Buckminster Fuller Institute. Chromatrope, from inception, was a remote agency, “the company without an office”. Adopting this practice twenty years ago was unprecedented, but it enabled smaller grassroots nonprofits access to a market-priced agency team’s services.

In October 2021, Joe began working with Jack and Norman as a co-founder of The Copernicus Project.

1. When did you first realize you wanted to do what you do? (e.g., formative experience or discovery)

Childhood on the North Fork of Long Island spent with fisherman farmers, I grew up in a world of potatoes, fish and oysters. During summers my brother and I would walk to the beach and fish for lunch. Snappers and Northern Puffers filled our bucket regularly. The following summer the Puffers were all gone, not a single fish all summer. I remember this profoundly affecting me and motivating my life-long journey of discovery and action. In the case of the missing Northern Puffers, it was determined that the insecticide DDT (still legal at the time) sprayed on the local potato farms was running off into the back waters of the bay. After years of community engagement of groups like the Peconic Land Trust and Peconic Estuary Project, the Northern Puffers have returned with the improvement in water quality.

2. To learn more about you or the field you work in, what 3-5 books/resources do you recommend?

The Starship and the Canoe – Kenneth Brower

Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth – R. Buckminster Fuller

Critical Path – R. Buckminster Fuller

Intuition – R. Buckminster Fuller

The Fifth Discipline – Peter M. Senge

Desert Solitaire – Edward Abbey

The Dharma Bums – Jack Kerouac

The Cousteau Almanac – Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Conservation Geography GIS, Mapping and Activism -Charles L. Convis Jr.

3. What publications should we subscribe to? Websites, newsfeeds, pod-casts? People to follow?

Library of Congress – Great resource for US research

Paul Stamets – Mycologist, author and advocate of bioremediation and medicinal fungi

Randall Carlson – The Younger Dryas, Meltwater pulse 1a & 1b

The Beginning Farmer – Learn from the community

Tree Hugger – Dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream.

Joe fishing for northern puffers
North Fork, Long Island


“During summers my brother and I would walk to the beach and fish for lunch. Snappers and Northern Puffers filled our bucket regularly. The following summer the Puffers were gone, not a single fish all summer. I remember this profoundly affecting me. ”

– Joe Skopek



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Recent Initiatives:

journal copernicus

Clearinghouse for vetted information about the science of the environment and emerging and innovative technology.

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watersite - unified water study tool

Watersite is a core component of the Oyster Bay Pilot. It was developed following in-the-field research on improving data quality for the EPA funded Long Island Sound Study.

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Field research video produced with local Oyster Bay Pilot partner Friends of the Bay.