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Save the Redwoods League Launches Redwood Watch, a Citizen-based Science Project to Study Where Redwoods Thrive Around the World

May 1, 2011

Redwoods on Google Earth 3D Trees for the First Time

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) April 29, 2011

Save the Redwoods League, the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting ancient redwood forests throughout their natural range, announced today that it has partnered with iNaturalist.org to launch Redwood Watch. Redwood Watch is an international citizen-based science project that encourages people around the world to help scientists study redwoods as climate changes. By simply sharing digital images, the location and/or time of the photograph, species identification and other aspects of redwood biology, the public will help the League track and monitor redwood trees around the world online in real-time. The user-generated data collected by the Redwood Watch project will allow the League to track the migration of redwood forests over time, shape future redwood conservation efforts, understand how climate change will impact the redwood forest and its surrounding landscapes, and predict where the redwood forests of tomorrow will thrive.

The redwood forest is an ancient ecosystem. Redwood relatives once grew in forests all across North America and beyond. But over the past 150 million years of changing landscapes and climate, the redwood forest range has shrunk to only 1.9 million acres along the coast of Northern California. Despite the relatively narrow geographical region to which they are confined, people from all over the world treasure redwoods, a natural wonder as the world’s tallest tree species.”While we have satellite imagery to assist our efforts, it is often difficult to identify the exact location of coast redwood and giant sequoia trees,” said Emily Limm, Ph.D, director of science and planning for Save the Redwoods League. “Because of recent advances in Internet mapping technology and mobile device applications, now we can better interact with and use data collected by outdoor enthusiasts. Each redwood tree or observation submitted by the public will provide valuable information that will help us track the health of redwood forests into the future.”

Find a redwood tree in a park, in your own backyard, or in a botanical garden anywhere in the world. Then use the free Redwood Watch iPhone application powered by iNaturalist or your own camera to take a photo of the tree and submit it online.

“Citizen-science efforts like iNaturalist are rapidly emerging as rich sources of biogeographic information for alerting scientists where plants and animals are disappearing and where they persist,” said Scott R. Loarie, co-director of iNaturalist.org and a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science. “These technologies are a real win-win for conservation because, in addition to generating urgently needed data, they get people outdoors and help them become more aware of the natural world.”

In collaboration with Google Earth Outreach, Redwood Watch also will include a tour and new 3D online model of the ancient forest to help people better understand, appreciate and connect with the wonder of the redwoods. A 2½-minute video, Finding the Redwood Forests of Tomorrow, tells the story of an ancient forest. The video was narrated by Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall. Save the Redwoods League partnered with Google Earth Outreach to produce the new 3D Trees model of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park on Google Earth. Jedediah Smith Redwoods was selected for this project because it is one of the most pristine old-growth coast redwood forests in California. The 3D model allows Google Earth users to virtually walk and fly through an ancient redwood forest anytime anywhere.

“We are excited to support Save the Redwoods League on the launch of Redwood Watch,” said Raleigh Seamster, program manager for Google Earth Outreach. “With the League’s guidance, we were able to create an amazing 3D model of old-growth coast redwoods to add to the ever-expanding 3D Trees layer in Google Earth. We hope this effort not only helps increase awareness about endangered trees but also encourages people to help protect and preserve our forests around the world.”

Editors, please note: To schedule an interview, please contact Jennifer Benito at (415) 820-5814 or jbenito(at)SaveTheRedwoods(dot)org. For images, or to embed the video, please visit our newsroom.

About Save the Redwoods League

Walk through a redwood forest””home of the tallest, largest and some of the oldest living beings on Earth””and you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of awe and peace among these magnificent giants. Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has led the effort to protect the coast redwoods and giant sequoias for all to experience and enjoy. To date, the League has completed the purchase of more than 189,000 acres of forestland. For more information, please visit SaveTheRedwoods.org, or to receive monthly e-mail updates, sign up at SaveTheRedwoods.org/signup.

About iNaturalist.org

iNaturalist.org is a global citizen-science social-network connecting naturalists and scientists from around the world. Use iNaturalist to record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world. iNaturalist will help you share photos with a friend, get help identifying observations, and find new places to experience nature. In turn, your sightings are helping scientists better understand where plants and animals persist amid changing landscapes and climates. If you like recording your findings from the outdoors, connecting with scientists, or just like learning about life, join iNaturalist today!

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