1. Jennifer Preece
  2. Principal Investigator
  3. Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves
  4. https://www.nature-net.org/
  5. University of Maryland
  1. Sarah Abdellahi
  2. PhD Student
  3. Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves
  4. https://www.nature-net.org/
  5. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  1. Carol Boston
  2. Project Manager
  3. Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves
  4. https://www.nature-net.org/
  5. University of Maryland
  1. Jacqueline Cameron
  2. PhD Student
  3. Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves
  4. https://www.nature-net.org/
  5. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Tamara Clegg
  2. Co-PI and Assistant Professor
  3. Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves
  4. https://www.nature-net.org/
  5. University of Maryland
  1. Mary Lou Maher
  2. http://maryloumaher.net
  3. PI and Professor
  4. Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves
  5. https://www.nature-net.org/
  6. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  1. Daniel Pauw
  2. PhD Student
  3. Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves
  4. https://www.nature-net.org/
  5. University of Maryland
  1. Elizabeth Warrick
  2. PhD Student
  3. Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves
  4. https://www.nature-net.org/
  5. University of Maryland
  1. Tom Yeh
  2. PI and Assistant Professor
  3. Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves
  4. https://www.nature-net.org/
  5. University of Colorado Boulder
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Jennifer Preece

    Jennifer Preece

    Presenter
    May 14, 2017 | 05:51 p.m.

    Thanks for watching our video! Since NatureNet has been developed to support community-based environmental projects through crowdsourced design, we hope you'll visit the website at nature-net.org and download the mobile app. (Both iOS and Android versions are available.) Please let us know how you might use current features such as mapping, sharing, and commenting on observations for your place-based environmental learning. Do you have ideas for new projects? Suggestions for adapting the technology? We're eager to hear from you on these and any other issues.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Elizabeth Warrick
  • Icon for: Heidi Carlone

    Heidi Carlone

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 09:57 p.m.

    Jennifer,

    I haven't had a chance to download the app yet, but I am definitely going to do so. I can absolutely see potential uses for this app in the projects that I'm engaged in (e.g., engaging middle school youth in socioenvironmental projects that have science, engineering, and computing components). I have tons of questions, but I'll start with this one: What kinds of projects are a good fit for NatureNet? Are there characteristics of projects that work best?

     
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    Elizabeth Warrick
  • Icon for: Jennifer Preece

    Jennifer Preece

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 01:16 p.m.

    Hi, Heidi,

         You ask a great question!

         We are two years into a three-year project + evaluation period, and so far we've focused our efforts on two sites: the Anacostia Watershed Society (a nonprofit in the Washington, DC area that conducts training for volunteer watershed stewards) and Reedy Creek Nature Center in Charlotte, NC.

         Watershed stewards first came up with some general projects--Watch Your Waterways and Runoff Rundown--and are just starting to experiment with putting up  photos and information about their individual capstone projects. For examples of these, you could go to nature-net.org, select Projects from the top, then select Grace Episcopal Capstone or Cheverly Residential Capstone. We are eager to see how people upload pictures and PDFs to help others see what they are trying to accomplish to manage stormwater through rain gardens, native plantings, etc. and will be watching this over the summer and fall.

         At Reedy Creek Nature Center, naturalists have suggested projects such as Turtle Tracking and Mushrooms to encourage visitors to focus their attention on some specific aspect of plant or animal life while in the park. There is also a more general Ask a Naturalist project for people to take a picture of something that puzzles them or engages their interest and ask a question about it so that naturalists can provide more information.

         With respect to your middle school youth, you might also take a look at the existing project, Seasonal Land Patch, in which a group of college students monitored a 10' by 10' foot plot of land over a season. They may find it interesting to contribute to this project AND to use the Design Ideas feature to make suggestions for enhancing the NatureNet technology as they use it.

         In general, I would say that projects that allow individuals or communities to monitor some environmental change over time can be well-supported by NatureNet. We also see that it is important to provide short, clear instructions and a compelling reason if other people are invited to contribute to a project. 

         We'll be watching this space through May 22 for new project ideas, and after that, people are welcome to submit them directly through the NatureNet app or website by taking a minute to set up an account and then entering a project name and brief (sentence or two) description under Design Ideas.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Heidi Carlone
    Elizabeth Warrick
  • May 16, 2017 | 09:02 a.m.

    Jennifer, 

      The app  appears to be  exactly what I need and have been looking for!  What a great project.  We have just stepped from collecting data in the classrooms and in garden/ag fields and starting into the local fields/forests and waterways. These need some sort of tech sharing hub.  Have you set up in libraries or where are the best sites for the main screen?

    Thanks for sharing your program!

     
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    Elizabeth Warrick
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Warrick

    Elizabeth Warrick

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 03:10 p.m.

    Betsy, This is a great question! First, thank you for watching our video and for the great review of the NatureNet App!  We at NatureNet are thrilled to hear that the app is a good fit for your data collecting as you wind up gardens/ag fields and move into fields/forests, and waterways in your local environment.

    Now to your answering your question: You rightly point out that libraries would make great places for the large screen, which is an idea we have explored with local libraries on the Anacostia Watershed in Maryland.  We currently have large screen displays at the Reedy Creek Nature Center in North Carolina (visitor center & kiosk), and want to extend the same concept to users who live on the Anacostia Watershed in Maryland.  Please let us know if we can answer any more questions and how we can best serve your data collecting and sharing needs.  Also, you might have noticed that the app's design is crowdsourced, and so we depend on users to recommend new directions for development. In other words, we are completely community driven. For this reason we love to hear design ideas!

  • Icon for: Sarah Garlick

    Sarah Garlick

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 01:32 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project. I'm curious about the data collected by participants. How do you envision the datasets being used?

     
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    Elizabeth Warrick
  • Icon for: Carol Boston

    Carol Boston

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 02:06 p.m.

    Hi, Sarah,

         Our research team has had early discussions about making the link with iNaturalist for those projects that involve animal and plant species, but at the moment, the data is being used by participants only.

         Naturalists at Reedy Creek Nature Center are interested in the local data related to caterpillars, mushrooms, turtles, etc., and our partner at Anacostia Watershed Society is inviting trained watershed stewards to use NatureNet to document their individual capstone projects related to stormwater management, both so he and other volunteers can see how the projects are shaping up and so community members can also get a map of what's going on in the Anacostia River watershed area.

         We are interested in how NatureNet might support community education and encourage more activity as core participants share their data with their own social networks. Let us know if you have other thoughts about data sharing, and thanks for your question.

     
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    Sarah Garlick
    Elizabeth Warrick
  • Icon for: Jennifer Preece

    Jennifer Preece

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 01:34 p.m.

    Hi, Betsy,

         Yes, it looks like you are working in a few of the spaces for which we currently have projects on NatureNet. It would be great if NatureNet could function as your tech sharing hub!

         You may want to take a look at projects such as Native or Not, Watch Your Waterway, Our Creeks, and Seasonal Land Patch at nature-net.org to see if they meet your needs; otherwise, you can propose new projects by sending a note through Design Ideas.

         We currently have a large interactive touchscreen display mounted in the Reedy Creek Nature Center in Charlotte so that park visitors who use the mobile app on the trails can see their pictures and comments immediately when they come back in. We are now exploring where to place other kiosks in the larger expanse of a whole watershed. Possibilities include, as you note, libraries, and also community centers--public places that draw people in and also meet a few tech requirements (e.g., good wifi, reasonable security, someone who'll turn it off and on and report any problems).

         If you have other thoughts about locations, we'd love to hear them!

     
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    Elizabeth Warrick
  • Icon for: Claire Quimby

    Claire Quimby

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 09:10 p.m.

    Hi Presenters. I'd love to download your app, but my phone isn't up to the task :)  Can you tell me more about the types of data people are able to collect and contribute through NatureNet? How do individual projects look at all of the data that has been submitted?

     
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    Elizabeth Warrick
  • Icon for: Stephen MacNeil

    Stephen MacNeil

    Graduate Student
    May 17, 2017 | 09:45 a.m.

    Hi Claire,

    NatureNet has a web app as well that mirrors a lot of the functionality of the mobile apps. You can check it out at nature-net.org to get an idea of what is possible.

     
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    Elizabeth Warrick
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Warrick

    Elizabeth Warrick

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 12:24 a.m.

    Claire, Stephen is right! the website nature-net.org will give you an idea of what types of data are collected on the app.  I was wondering from your question though, if maybe you are also interested in aggregated data that you can use for research? If so, we plan to put that up soon. Currently, we are sharing some interesting visualizations of user activity on our research website at http://viz.nature-net.org/#/summary

    To answer your question about kinds of data collected, Basically, users collect photos or pdfs around nature-based projects that are of interest to them, mostly in their local area.   Projects include rain gardens, storm water runoff rundown, watching our waterways, etc.  

    Please let us know if Stephen and I have answered your questions, and thanks for stopping by!

     
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    Elizabeth Warrick
  • Icon for: Claire Quimby

    Claire Quimby

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2017 | 06:37 a.m.

    Yes, thanks! That answers my question, and I'm going to go check out the web app. To clarify my questions, I'm mostly trying to understand the general functionality of the app. For example, once students or other science enthusiasts had contributed data through their photos or pdfs, how is that data then manipulated and analyzed to answer a research question (if that's a goal). Does the app support that? I'm off to the website to find out!

  • Icon for: Sarah Abdellahi

    Sarah Abdellahi

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 11:20 a.m.

    Claire, NatureNet collects different types of data including environmental data gathered through project submissions and design data that is gathered through the design idea section of the platform. Each data type is analyzed differently and for a different purpose. Each environmental project is different and when we are gathering and analyzing lots of data, for some of the projects community awareness and participation is the primary goal.
    In addition to environmental activities, one of the NatureNet research questions is how community members could contribute to the design of the technology they use. To answer this question, we use a variation of design analysis methods including Protocol Analysis to study the design idea data posted by NatureNet users.  

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Cameron

    Jacqueline Cameron

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 12:38 p.m.
    Hi Claire. Great questions! I just wanted to add some thoughts to what my other presenters have said.   Because this is focused on community-driven environmental projects, one challenge for this is how to make the data available for local use by naturalists and community members.  This is especially true for our partners that have an action orientation, where community members aim to use this data for local projects (e.g. installing a rain garden), which is different from many other citizen science projects where the data is primarily aggregated for researcher use.  Right now, we only support in-app views of the data by location, project, and personal contributions, but are focused on working with our current partners to see what kinds of tools would best support their project and what features are best in-app versus as pipelines to external tools that they already know.   In-app visualization of the data was something that our Colorado team discussed early on, but it presents many challenges and future research opportunities beyond this grant. What visualizations best support action-driven projects versus research projects? How do you create a visualization that can handle when the data types are changing between projects and over time? Cleaning of data is one of the biggest steps. Can computing effectively do this or could you create an easy way for community members to select the data themselves? Several team members from this project also had a separate EAGER grant looking at the use of machine learning to highlight anomalies in citizen science data.  We found that a mixed human-computer approach was best, using the machine learning to highlight unusual events and people to determine whether this was incorrect data or interesting changes in the environment.   I would love to hear any further ideas you have for data manipulation and visualization, either through this discussion or you can contribute ideas directly in the design ideas section of our website: https://www.nature-net.org/ideas. Do you have a particular use in mind?
     
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    Sarah Abdellahi
  • May 17, 2017 | 07:51 a.m.

    Jennifer, 

       Thanks for the view of how you are geared to the local focus and engagement.  I immediately thought of the need for hikers to share to others about incidents or hazards not on their maps.  Bears are a common resident, for example in areas along the Appalachian Trail.  They share residency even on the developed site along the trail, Hanover, NH!   The design works well to build a sense of creating a user community around an issue rather than a static map.  That's an important step.   

     
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    Elizabeth Warrick
    Sarah Abdellahi
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Warrick

    Elizabeth Warrick

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 12:32 a.m.

    Betsy, just letting you know that I also do love this way of using the map feature to sensemake around safety issues that hikers may encounter while in nature.  You are right, issues are a great way to build community because people love to share information about things that are of concern to them! 

  • Icon for: Jennifer Preece

    Jennifer Preece

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 08:38 a.m.

    Hi Betsy, 

    I agree. We hadn't thought of the NN app being used by hikes to share information about hazards on the trail when hiking. Hundreds if not thousand of people hike the Appalachian Trail every year so it could be quite helpful that sharing that kind of information.  Thanks for the suggestion

     
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    Elizabeth Warrick
  • May 19, 2017 | 12:23 p.m.

    Jennifer and Elizabeth,

    Thank you for your receptive thinking!  We are more apt to share info on what are our concerns and with information we can plan for those unexpected ventures.  The mailman keeps track locally of the family of bears that roam the side streets of downtown Hanover, NH.  He might not have time to take pictures, however the AT hikers line up at the Post Office for packages sent here.  The library and most of the community open their doors to AT hikers. 

     Thanks to your app, I  moved out from the computer screen on the rail trail this week, testing out cameras in our project with shots of the water conditions which are a bit odd this year as we move out of our drought conditions.  I may have “captured” a male Karner Blue butterfly, an endangered species! 

  • Icon for: Jennifer Preece

    Jennifer Preece

    Presenter
    May 21, 2017 | 09:20 a.m.

    Hi Betsy, 

    It's exciting that you may have taken a photo of male Karner Blue butterfly, an endangered species!

    WRT NatureNet - while the app tends to focus on taking pictures as a picture helps to confirm a sighting, you could also focus on adding a note.  You could do this in a couple of ways. Either you could take a generic picture of the location but add comments about the bears.  You could even ask to create your own project in the project section of the app.  You could also record whatever you want to in text and then take a screen picture and make that the picture that appears in NatureNet.  Both of these suggestions are work arounds and you might have better ideas of how to achieve what you want.  If so I encourage you to submit a design idea to the team which they will consider as a possibility for designing a new feature in NatureNet.  

    Thank you again for interest in NatureNet and this interesting conversation.

    Best wishes, Jennifer

  • May 21, 2017 | 10:30 a.m.

    Thank you, too.  Your attention to the needs from the field to both share and protect what we unexpectedly notice applies to the field work and also enables a metaphor for assisting classroom change.   I started a water approach to a new project in the section of the app and received a encouraging prompt to continue, however the sighting on the trail appeared more of your focus.  Great to have the showcase to hear directly from you as presenters on different approaches and that they are welcome.  Will follow up on your site!

    Congrats, Betsy

     

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Warrick

    Elizabeth Warrick

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2017 | 02:39 p.m.

    "... to share and protect" words of great depth, Betsy!  I recently heard a great presentation by a research scientist from citsci.org, on how they are building technology to be sensitive to those two needs you have identified here--sharing and protecting. You may want to keep an eye out for future developments on that site. I am not sure about the timeline on that particular goal, but its achievement will be a crucial step in environmental technology.  I share in Jenny's excitement for you, on your serendipitous encounter with an endangered species! 

  • Icon for: Jennifer Preece

    Jennifer Preece

    Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 03:16 p.m.

    Hi Everyone who has watched, commented or asked questions about our NatureNet Project.  We are still here until 8 pm when voting closes. If you have any more questions please ask away, we will be pleased to chat with you.

    Best wishes, Jenny

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 22, 2017 | 04:14 p.m.

    Great video. Visually appealing and innovative project. At 1:20 in the video you say that you are "now studying the impact of nature net on knowledge of environmental issues and on actions."Can you tell me how you are doing this? Specifically how you are studying if increased knowledge of issues leads to changes in behavior? Thanks!

  • Icon for: Jennifer Preece

    Jennifer Preece

    Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 05:29 p.m.

    Hi Joni, 

    Thanks for your note and nice comment about our video. You ask about how we are studying "impact of nature net on knowledge of environmental issues and on actions".  We have tried a few different things. The most successful way so far has been through interviews and talking with participants - ie anecdotal evidence. For example, early in our work a naturalist commented with enthusiasm that by taking photographs and viewing them on the large screen and sharing them with others he became aware of interesting things in his pictures that he did not notice when he took the pictures and that this encouraged him to look much more closely at what he taking pictures of and also motivated interesting discussions with visitors to his nature center.  Participants have also told us that by discussing issues with their peers they increased their understanding of nature. So far this tends to happened in face to face discussion not via technology. I should also mention that NatureNet is currently mostly being used with groups of trainee watershed stewards - i.e., volunteers who want to learn more and take responsibility for managing parts of the watershed in their local community.  Consequently NatureNet is embedded within a lot of face-to-face group activity. This summer we will be adding a lot more resources to the NatureNet site to encourage more online community interaction which isn't happening much at present.

    I would also like to mention that Cornell have produced some excellent test instruments for evaluating motivation, science efficacy, changes in disposition etc.  We have piloted these with our volunteers and used them with two groups of trainee watershed stewards.  However, most of the people who come to the watershed stewards academy classes are quite knowledgeable and highly motivated so we haven't seen much change on the scales when doing before and after testing. Colleagues from Cornell have commented that this tends to be the case.  I suspect the scales might be more useful with school classes rather than with volunteer adults who are motivated and usually quite knowledgeable.  I hope this helps.  I'd be interested in talking further if that is helpful to you.

    Best wishes, Jennifer

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.