Together with the Omnicorp Detroit Hackerspace and Alley Culture’s Seed Exchange in Detroit, WinterRoot is excited to announce our first ever kickstarter project! A community technology project to explore and catalog wild plants growing in Detroit’s open spaces. Full Description follows, or link to Kickstarter and consider backing our project! We have some great rewards planned for backers, so check it out!
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Wildflowers of Detroit ??
One pervasive vision of Detroit is it’s ruins - the monolithic hulks of an industrial era gone by, documented in striking photographs and tales of urban exploration. What has gone missing in this narrative is the other side of the coin. In the open spaces left behind, a monumental resurgence of wild-ness is occurring: plots filled with wildflowers and wildlife. After knowing Detroit’s secret gardens and hidden blooms, we feel this is a story that needs to be told - appreciating this resource is crucial, otherwise it may merely be swept away. Wildflowers of Detroit is a community technology project for cataloging wild plants growing in Detroit, an effort which can enable people’s appreciation of Detroit’s reawakened ecology. Our technologies collaborative WinterRoot is teaming up with Detroit’s Omnicorp Hackerspace and Alley Culture’s Seed Exchange to bring this vision into being.
An iPhone App?
And even more, we hope! We aim to create iPhone, Android, MMS, and email interfaces (all free) for posting geo-tagged photos of wildflowers, and logging their location and salient details for future study and appreciation. When you spot a great specimen or view of one of Detroit’s varied wild plants, you’ll be able to whip out your mobile device, snap a picture, and instantly upload to our website along with automatic longitude and latitude coordinates, adding your find to an interactive map. Sometimes it’s called “citizen science”, we call it community ecology - residents participating in the study of their own area. There is great value to be found in a community understanding it’s own natural process. An incredible phenomenon is afoot in Detroit, lets come together and begin its study!
Want to see it in action??
We already have an alpha version online demonstrating a proof of concept, but we need your help for the full build out. In order for this project to reach it’s full potential, we need to integrate all mobile devices, provide an interactive map showing the locations of the flowers, solve some technical details like caching of photos in areas of bad 3G reception for later upload, allow comments on each photo for identification and discussion, improve the site layout, integrate with social media, acquire substantial hosting, and get going on some advanced features like searching by species or habitat or providing a good interface for crowdsourced identifications. It’s a big list, and it just keeps getting bigger, but we think that this project can help us transform our impressions of grand old Detroit’s wild spaces. After backing this project, hop over to http://www.wildflowersofdetroit.org/ and start getting involved!!
We plan to construct a small community herbarium in Detroit, creating a physical record of what grew where and when. Linking this with the website and database will create a dynamic and growing resource for children, students, and researchers interested in the incredible urban flora of Detroit. The ultimate tool for understanding the history and fate of the spaces these organisms occupy. We are still working out the details of where and how this will manifest, so check back here or our facebook page for updates!