MAPPING WORKSHOP AT DOCVILLE FARM IN VIOLET, LA --
ST. BERNARD PARISH
On Friday, August 19, 2017, the first in a series of Workshops and Community Meetings, supported by a grant from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) www.nasonline.org to the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) http://www.publiclab.org was convened at the Docville Farm, a facility owned and operated by the Meraux Foundation http://merauxfoundation.org , in Violet, Louisiana, within St. Bernard Parish. Over the next eighteen months, additional workshops and community meetings, supported by the NAS grant, will be held in designated municipalities that have experienced environmental challenges in New Orleans, LA; Biloxi, MS; Mobile, AL and Pensacola, FL.
The initial meeting in St. Bernard Parish was promoted as a Mapping Workshop and twenty registrants, in addition to the hosts, participated in the five-hour workshop (10 AM -- 3PM CDT). The stated goals of the workshop were to:
- Cultivate community science thinking
- Learn about low cost accessible monitoring techniques and practices
- Connect with broader community science practitioners across the Gulf of Mexico
- Document environmental projects
- Visualize and communicate data on local environments
The envisioned outcomes for participants were to:
- Develop an understanding of community science and connect with others through Public Lab's online infrastructure
- Learn about low cost, open source accessible mapping techniques using balloons, kites and digital cameras.
- Map the St. Bernard Wetland Assimilation Project, collecting 500-1500 regular aerial images and in near infrared photography images.
- Create between 1-5 maps of the site from the images captured using Public Lab's open source Mapknitter software https://mapknitter.org/ .
After initial participant introductions and welcoming statements from the Meraux Foundation representatives, Stevie Lewis delivered an introduction to Public Lab and to balloon mapping techniques. Participants were initially asked what primarily motivated them to attend the workshop. Single word responses included the following:
- Aerial Photos
- [Locating wild] Hogs
Participants then were transported to:
RIVERBEND OXIDATION POND WETLANDS ASSIMILATION PROJECT OFFICE OF COASTAL PROTECTION & RESTORATION ST. BERNARD PARISH [FUNDED BY THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF OIL & GAS REVENUES BY THE COASTAL IMPACT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, MINERALS MANAGEMENT SERVICE, U.S. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR]
St. Bernard Parish's Jake Groby provided a detailed description of the project and its importance for wetland sustainability. The participants then filled the large balloons with helium, attached the auto-timed cameras and launched two balloons on opposite sides of the study area. Others engaged included Public Lab's Stevie Lewis and Gilbert Rochon and the Gulf Restoration Network's Coastal Wetland Specialist, Scott Eustis.
Participants then returned to the Docville Farm for a lunch, featuring jambalaya from a local vendor. An introduction to Public Lab's Mapknitter open source software was provided by Stevie Lewis and participants had hands-on opportunities, with multiple computer stations, to download data from the day's aerial imagery and "knit" together maps, utilizing the software. Selected aerial imagery collected and samples of the Mapknitter results are posted: https://mapknitter.org/maps/river-bend-observation-pond-st-bernard . At the end of the workshop, participants expressed their responses to the workshop in the following terms:
- Future Possibilities
Public Lab wishes to express its appreciation to all the participants for their enthusiastic engagement, to the National Academy of Sciences www.nasonline.org for support of this and subsequent workshops and community meetings along the Gulf of Mexico coast, to the Meraux Foundation for use of Docville Farm http://merauxfoundation.org , to the Gulf Restoration Network www.healthygulf.org , to St. Bernard Parish Government www.sbpg.net for access to the Wetlands Assimilation Project site, to Jerry Graves Jr. and to Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) www.coastal.la.gov . Further inquiries may be directed to Stevie Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org or to Gilbert Rochon email@example.com .