Gaining access to the different forest layers is a major need and challenge for forest ecologists. After centuries of applied and basic work in forests, we lack a good method to sample what is up there. The goal of this project is to develop a plant collecting drone. Ideally, the drone should be: (1) able to fly in a forest reliably; (2) able to grab, cut, and carry small branches or botanical samples; (3) easy to pilot. We hope to solve the first challenge (reliability) by investigating and test a variety of propeller shielding configurations to minimize the likelihood of entanglement with leaves, twigs, or vines. We expect to solve the second challenge (sampling) by hiring students to work on the problem directly or, if we find interest among professors, launching a competition targeting engineering students to design a grasping-and-cutting tool. We expect to solve the third challenge (navigation) by integrating RGB-d sensor units along with GPS and IMU integrated into the drone already to help the drone understand where local foliage is located. We would also explore real-time datalink to a ground-based monitor/laptop so the operator can offer input to whether the drone will be able to move through the foliage immediately ahead vs. need to circumvent it. The drone that we have in mind would be immediately useful for the University of Michigan, for works being done in a big forest plot in the E.S. George Reserve. Similarly, we know it would be in high demand by researchers working in similar plots all around the world, part of the Forest Global Earth Observatory. Mid-term, a collecting drone is a key yet often overlooked component in the development of semi-automated forest surveys. The applications of such a drone, however, will not be restricted to applications in forest science: a drone that can fly in a closed tropical rainforest can fly almost anywhere.