UPDATE: Diane Peapus has put up the Nature Cache
site. Check it out here.
Save the Pine Bush is a shining example of the
power of public participation in conservation. We can only
imagine how our landscapes would look if a larger portion of
the public had the sense of land stewardship that is so prevalent
at Save the Pine Bush. As we reach out to educate the public
on land stewardship, we find a broader and broader “public” distracted
by more and more materials of modern life. As an educator,
I seek to turn these distractions into tools. How can I use
cell phones to teach chemistry, or PlayStations to teach
An upcoming web page sponsored by the NYS Museum
will use GPS (global positioning system) to encourage a sense
of public land stewardship while establishing a habitat monitoring
Imagine finding historic photographs all taken from the same
photo point, lining up the views, arranging them by date and
giving a time series slide show. This would surely reveal habitat
Now, imagine the photo point is in the Pine
Bush. If we post today’s view and its GPS coordinates on an educational
web site, ask web users to visit the Pine Bush and re-take
the photos, then add each new photo to the time series slide
show, we can monitor the habitat each time someone visits the
Save the Pine Bush has taken monthly hikes for
years. Once a person visits the Pine Bush, they develop a sense
of appreciation for the unique landscape. The web site would
encourage different types of visitors to enjoy the Pine Bush,
and their participation will bring a sense of stewardship.
But even web visitors who can’t visit the Pine Bush will be able to view the slide
show and grasp the need for land stewardship.
I’m looking for historic photos.
They don’t have to be “deep” history. I’m
already seeing habitat change in photos that span only 5 – 10
years. And they don’t have to be the greatest or most
artistic photos, either. Ideal photos would illustrate then/now
landscapes that demonstrate conservation issues, such as…
• Burn restoration
• Mechanical restoration (removal of aspen, for example)
• Development (photos that include edges of development sites
are best, as there is still some natural habitat to monitor)
• Invasive species
• Dune erosion
• Changes in wetlands & streams
• Overall landscape
Since the then/now viewscape concept is the
most convincing feature of the time series, I’m looking for photos where something
remains in the landscape that can be matched to the scene today.
If someone remembers where they were when they took the photograph,
that’s even better.
Since we’ll be encouraging web users to visit the photo
points, photos need to be included which were taken on trail
or just off the roadway. In addition, I can’t post images
that have identifiablepeople.
If anyone out there has potential Albany Pine
Bush Nature Cache photo points, I’d love to include them.
Diane H Peapus teaches biology and chemistry
at a number of local colleges and consults with non-profit
organizations and museums on educational programs. She was
Interpretive Planner at the MuseumOfTheEarth.org and can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who want to learn
more about GPS in educational web sites, try EarthCache.org
Printed in August/September 2005 Newsletter