July 19, 2012
Millions of Americans have access to the latest technology in the palms of their hands. Smartphone applications, or “apps,” not only play games and connect to the web–they can also increase awareness and engagement in managing urban forests. Cities and organizations can use apps to recruit and educate volunteers, to receive tree status updates from people on the street, to lead interactive guided tours, and to help residents identify trees in their neighborhoods. Smartphone tree apps are revolutionizing the connection between people and trees, and new ones are being released all the time.
Smartphone Apps Resource List
Philip Potyondy, Urban Forest Technician, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Forestry Division (Minneapolis, MN)
Looking for ways to increase citizen interaction with the urban forest, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Forestry Division, in partnership with the University of Minnesota, performed a thorough inventory of relevant tree apps used in urban areas across the US. They are now developing an app to engage residents in the Minneapolis/St Paul urban forest.
Ian Leahy, District Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator, District of Columbia Urban Forestry Administration (Washington, DC)
In 2012, Washington DC’s Urban Forestry Administration piloted a successful tree adoption program using QR codes. Neighborhood street trees received tags with individualized QR codes–each corresponding to a dataset listing watering, mulch, and location information–which DC residents could read using their smartphones. This program both increased citizen participation in canopy maintenance, and also encouraged residents to take responsibility for basic tree tending.
Webcast attendees will learn about:
* Popular tree smartphone apps
* Incorporating apps into existing educational programs
* Tracking resident engagement and tree care with apps
* Using smartphones to empower volunteers
About the ACTrees Webcast Series
The ACTrees Webcast Series is the Alliance for Community Trees’ monthly webcast series held at the lunch hour. The goal is to create informal training opportunities for local urban and community forestry organizations. The content is geared to mainly serve the needs of volunteer organizations and community groups, although webcasts are open to all.
The trainings leverage local successes by amplifying to a larger audience the model organizations’ methods, materials, and approaches. Sessions are planned to last no more than one hour, with two presenters speaking on the same topic from slightly different perspectives, each for 10–15 minutes, followed by 10–15 minutes of questions and answers.
CEU Approved: 1 Hour