Michaux State Forest provides countless trails for a wide range of outdoor activities. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has worked hard to maintain these trails and provide sufficient information about them so that they are easily accessible and remain safe for public use. Although there are already extensive trails for use, many adventure-seekers have taken it upon themselves to create new trails, causing problems not only for the DCNR, but also for the surrounding environment. With the help of the DCNR, I determined a study area of 2,292 acres within the forest and went into the field to do data collection and find the extent of trails within the given area. While carrying both a recreational and mapping grade GPS, I followed first the known trails within the sector and then cut off and continued down any unmapped trails that I encountered. With the application of an “Analysis Area” of 1,090.45 acres around the 5.33 miles of unmapped trails that I mapped within my study area, I used a predictive model and determined that one could expect to find approximately 417.91 miles of unmapped, and potentially unauthorized trails in this forest of 85,500 acres. The impact of these trails on the landscape could be seen in just the small area that I covered. From here, the DCNR can use the data gathered to make steps towards determining what is unauthorized and how to prevent the further mismanagement of the land by the public.
The edible gardens around the Dickinson College campus provide a sustainable and convenient way to access organic food within walking distance of the entire campus. These gardens hold a vast amount of vegetables, fruits, and herbs including tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers, rhubarb, basil, parsley, kale, chard, lettuce, apples, and so much more. It is surprising how few people know about this resource that is so easily accessible. At a college that so adamantly pushes sustainability and supports local and organic foods, it is important that these gardens are common knowledge among the student body as well as staff. Therefore, for my final project I chose to explore these edible gardens in order to provide a comprehensive and interactive way for people to learn more about them.
My study began with a meeting with the head gardener on campus, Ann Dailey. She provided me with a list of specific plants around campus and their locations. She gave me a list of six gardens: The Health Center, Handlebar, ATS, Library, Weiss, and KW. To this list I added the Treehouse gardens and the newly planted apple trees by the Children’s Center. She noted that these will change in the coming year as construction happens and plants have to be moved, but for now the plants in each garden are as follows: the Health Center holds peppers, tomatoes, and squash; the Handlebar garden is entirely herbs; KW has a small garden which holds Tomatoes, peppers, and squash; the triangular garden in between the HUB and ATS has only parsley for now; the Library Terrace has peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash; Weiss has peppers, tomatoes, basil, and squash; and, finally, the Treehouse garden includes tomatoes, lettuce, kale, chard, basil, and onions.
After acquiring this information I then did my own data collection, which involved collecting waypoints with a GPS. I checked a recreational GPS out of the Media Center and made my way around campus, marking the gardens as waypoints on the GPS. Once I had all of my points, I uploaded them to the computer and into ArcMap. From here I proceeded to put together a map using the provided layers of buildings, streets, and walkways, as well as a satellite image for my base layer. I added the waypoints and to their attribute tables, added fields to include information about which garden each point was and what plants were included in each specific garden. I was eventually able to upload this map to the online program where I edited symbology and configured the pop-ups to make the map more aesthetically appealing. Once this was completed I turned it into a Web Map Application. From here I was able to finish formatting and then publish the final product.
This map provides an easy way to learn about foods available right here on campus. It is also can be easily updated with any change to the gardens. Each garden changes slightly from year to year and this medium makes it easy to modify the map when those changes, or possibly even additions, do occur.