Land trust intern makes multimedia map to help connect people with nature
KEENE — A recent graduate of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry has created a new multimedia map describing seven northern New York sites that improve the public’s ability to connect with nature.
Jessica Henshaw Grant, the Adirondack Land Trust’s 2020 intern, published an ArcGIS StoryMap entitled “Lasting Conservation: Exploring Publicly Accessible Properties from the Adirondack Land Trust Portfolio.” Grant explored and analyzed 22 sites conserved by the Adirondack Land Trust over 36 years. She summarized her research in the web-based StoryMap application, using interactive maps, audio, video, text and photography to convey results.
Grant applied six metrics, including habitat resilience and cultural significance, to evaluate which places best balance conservation, recreation and other public values of land trust work. In the end, seven places ranked as offering valuable outdoor experiences as well as capacity to sustain recreational use. The sites can be explored virtually on the Adirondack Land Trust’s website at this URL: adirondacklandtrust.org/Explore/7-Sites-to-Visit. While some protected sites did not rank high by these metrics, they accomplish other conservation goals, such as keeping forests connected or acting as natural filters to protect streams, rivers and lakes. Some sites did not rank high as destinations because they are not able to sustain increased rates of hiking or other outdoor activities, or because they are difficult to access.
Originally from Homer, Alaska, Grant completed a bachelor’s degree in conservation biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2019, with a minor in environmental policy and communications. Upon completing her land trust internship this year, she began work as an enrichment specialist with AmeriCorps VISTA at the YMCA in Plattsburgh. Previously she worked as a kayak guide in the San Juan Islands and as a trail crew volunteer with the Student Conservation Association, and she has conducted academic research, including a fungi inventory in Ecuador and a recreation plan for a 120-acre property in Central New York.
The Adirondack Land Trust Internship for the Future of the Adirondacks was established in 2020 by Barbara Glaser and the Trust from Clarence A. Petty. The mission of the Adirondack Land Trust is to forever conserve the forests, farmlands, waters and wild places that advance the quality of life of communities and the ecological integrity of the Adirondacks. The land trust has protected 26,632 acres at 90 sites since its founding in 1984.