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Witness Tree in Action

November 30, 2023
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Image shows Schoolyard Ecology instructors practicing the Witness Tree tool next to a large tree.

On Tuesday, November 28th on Zoom, members of the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology community gathered to learn about exciting developments in how the Witness Tree project has been translated for classroom use.

Under the guidance of the Harvard Forest team Clarisse Hart and Katharine Hinkle and collaborators Dr. Tim Rademacher, Dr. Taylor Jones, and Dr. Joy Winborne, two recent Harvard graduate student alums, Yiou Wang (GSD '23) and Aika Yamamoto (HGSE '23) developed an interactive tool and an educational frame that allows students to see visualizations of data from the Witness Tree including Vapor Pressure Deficit and phenology camera images. Visualizations of sap flow and dendrometer data are forthcoming.

Technical assistance was provided by Dr. Emery Boose and Dr. Jackie Matthes (and Etta Matthes too). Long time Schoolyard Educator Collaborator Dr. Elisa Margarita of Brooklyn Technical High School developed detailed lesson plans that encourage classes to explore what the Witness Tree can tell us about how droughts and floods effect the health of trees and of our forests. These lessons were then piloted by other educator collaborators, Karen Murphy of Amherst Regional High School, Eli Jarvis of the Bement School, Suneetha Panda of Northeast High School in Macon, Georgia, and Kathleen Boucher-Lavigne of the Pike School. All materials can be found out at the Witness Tree Social Media Project website.

The image above shows a LiDAR representation of the Witness Tree created by the Schaaf Lab at UMass Boston.

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