Citizen Science: Treezilla Is Making a “Monster Map” of Trees
“Citizen Science” refers to the method of relying on everyday people to collect or analyze data as part of a larger scientific project. With the advent of Internet technology, this method of research– akin to crowd-sourcing– has become more popular than ever before, especially for environmental scientists, whose research often encompasses large areas of land that would otherwise not be feasible to visit. For Lil’ Sprouts, Citizen Science projects offer the chance for accessible, hands-on environmental education in one’s own backyard. Some of the projects we feature are adventurous nature treks while others are more leisurely undertakings– but all encourage exploring nature in one capacity or another.
With the lofty goal to map every tree in Britain, Treezilla hopes to create a platform that can aid others with their own citizen science investigations. The underlying purpose of the project is to examine the “ecosystem services” provided by local trees– that is, seeing trees as more than just a feature of the landscape, but as a dynamic part of the environment (natural and built).
In addition to the more familiar aid provided by trees (like transforming carbon dioxide into oxygen), Treezilla seeks to enumerate the ways in which trees provide less obvious benefits, like cooling entire buildings with their shade during a hot summer, reducing peak flow during periods of intense rain, or even how trees can increase property value.
Anyone can be involved, and commitment is completely up to the participant. After creating an account, simply zoom into the part of the map where you wish to add the tree and place it. You can add additional information if you’d like– or just leave it at that. If you’re unsure of the species, Treezilla has a sister site that will help you with identification.
Or– if you want to branch out into your own project or investigation– you can search by tree type or by area. All of the information is completely open to the public.
Unfortunately, the project is only open to those in Great Britain, but if you happen to be across the pond– for the upcoming Chelsea Flower Show or otherwise– don’t forget to see the forest for its trees!