Public Lab Research note

The Environmental Leadership Program Supports Public Lab Partnership with Innovation Grant

by Shannon | October 23, 2013 15:31 23 Oct 15:31 | #9534 | #9534

Thanks to the generosity of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) has awarded an Innovation Grant to Public Lab, Ironbound Community Corporation and Phil Silva of Cornell Civic Ecology Lab for a project called Building a model for community garden management through innovative action, monitoring and evaluation.

The Environmental Leadership Program supports a network of over 500 emerging and established environmental leaders through a fellowship program based on visionary, action-oriented and diverse leadership. The innovation grant went to a collaborative partnership established between ELP Senior Fellows Phil Silva (Cornell), Ana Baptista, Cynthia Mellon (Ironbound) and current New England Regional Network Fellow Shannon Dosemagen (Public Lab).

Project Scope

This project will create a test case for adaptive co-management in an environmental justice community in Newark, New Jersey, using a suite of tools and methods for environmental monitoring developed by the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab). The result of this project will be to create a case study that will inform management practices at the Ironbound Community Corporation urban garden and will be replicable for other urban gardeners to use at their sites. Public Lab will incorporate the use of near-infrared imaging techniques, including pole photography and aerial mapping - where tethered kites or balloons with infrared and visible light cameras attached, are sent overhead to take images of garden plots. Near-infrared imaging will give community members and volunteers the ability to monitor plant health in the garden and make management decisions based on the data collected. By the end of the project, participants will be able to use online, open source, stitching software,, to create multiple image maps of the garden site. The outcomes of this participatory action research project - a detailed case study and a urban gardening toolkit - will be shared with a national audience, offering insight and inspiration for similar efforts to use adaptive co-management in urban environmental stewardship work.

About Project Partners

Ironbound Community Corporation Ironbound Community Corporation’s mission is to engage and empower individuals, families and groups in realizing their aspirations and, together, work to create a just, vibrant and sustainable community.

Cornell Civic Ecology Lab The Civic Ecology Lab is a dynamic hub for scholarship seeking to understand ways in which humans are reconnecting to nature under the most difficult of conditions, and in so doing are making meaningful and measurable change to their communities and the environment.

Environmental Leadership Program The mission of the Environmental Leadership Program is to support visionary, action-oriented, and diverse leadership for a just and sustainable future. ELP catalyzes change by providing talented individuals early in their careers with the support and guidance they need to launch new endeavors, achieve new successes, and rise to new leadership positions. Since 2000, we have created a dynamic network of over 500 of the country's top emerging environmental leaders. ELP engages leaders in a series of trainings increasing their ability to embrace diversity and lead across differences, develop a systems thinking perspective, build partnerships/collaborations, utilize strengths-based leadership, while furthering their knowledge of the environmental field.


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