Skip to main body content

ATAB | Boston College

Main Content

Mossy tree stump in the woods

TouchTree: Increasing Participation in Environmental Science by seeing the Value of the Forest and the Trees

Mike Barnett

Associate Professor, Teacher Education, Lynch School of Education

This project is an emerging initiative and is an outgrowth of both National Science Foundation funded work (with the goal of obtaining additional NSF funds) and previous ATIG grant support. In a previous ATIG grant Dr. Barnett and his project team developed an interactive flash-based tree identification key and an interactive Carbon Footprint tool and a complex excel spreadsheet that users can use to determine the ecological value of trees. These tools have all been integrated into a textbook for high school students on Urban Ecology. Further, Dr. Barnett as a part of his sabbatical has already developed the set of functional specifications and for a mobile application that supports tree identification. Thus, the primary goal of the work proposed here is to bring the application, that we are calling TouchTree, to the market and to develop the underlying database structures and web-based interfaces to allow the scaling of the program across the nation. This background work means that the project team is in a position to create a highly innovative and creative set of tools that has significant potential to be widely used both at Boston College and in a variety of formal and informal education contexts.