All Press Releases for October 14, 2010

Social Media Technologies Enhancing Our Understanding of Nature

For those who thought that new technologies might distance humans from the great outdoors, think again! The advent of new social media applications allow users to get more in touch with trees, nature, and the environment than ever before.

    ATLANTA, GA, October 14, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The advent of new, cutting-edge technologies have become ubiquitous in recent years, more so than nature itself it seems, but nature lovers and activists do not have to choose between the two. Indeed, due to the growing popularity of social media applications and communities about and for people who love nature and trees, technology and nature may be able to finally coexist!

Trees and plants have proven to be favorites of numerous new social media applications and sites, with popular web-based communities popping up not just about trees and species, but also around individual shrubs as the plant Pothos, a rare corpse flower, and, more recently, the "Talking Tree".

"Young people today are connected with nature in very new and exciting ways," said Samantha Saras of Premiere Tree Services of St. Louis. "They are much more focused on information, in very scientific and interactive ways. This is a drastically different, and fundamentally new, way of experiencing and sharing things that previous generations were accustomed to."

In addition to web communities, Smartphone users now have myriad applications related to nature, trees, and forests at their fingertips. Although the application TreeBook is popular among users who are unfamiliar with tree identification, there is now a Tree Audobon Guide application with more advanced options for those who wish to recognize and learn more about trees on the basis of many easily identifiable markers.

'The Trees Near You', a revolutionary iPhone application released earlier this year, has mapped more than 500,000 trees on sidewalks in New York, enabling users to learn more about all the trees in any given block in NY, including the financial and environmental benefits of each tree.

Strikingly, with these new social media applications, information does not flow in only one direction. Social media applications revealed damage to trees in New York in the September 2010 storm when city residents used their cell phones to take pictures of the storm and its aftermath, and then shared them via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and news.

"It is important to remember that all this knowledge should result in something real," says Saras. "We know more about trees today than ever before, but it should also mean taking care of those in our own backyard, including proper tree maintenance, tree trimming, pruning, and spraying."

Soon, fans of trees and nature may be able to make a difference in research with their phones. Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution, Columbia University and the University of Maryland are all working on an application which would be able to automatically identify types of trees on a given photo list. Their goal is to use data from thousands of tree lovers studying climate change and biodiversity loss.

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Atlanta, GA
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