Keep a Tape Measure In Your Pocket

(Grand Rapids Press)

With the Tree Map in beta testing, I’ve been taking different opportunities to map trees around the city.  Today I finally got around to editing the inaugural Mayor’s Tree of the Year.  Thankfully a lot of the data was already in the tree map because of East Hill’s earlier mapping efforts to catalog the street trees in the neighborhood.  So I just had the fun part of filling in some missing data, adding some pictures, and sharing some comments about the tree.

Mayor’s Tree of the Year Details

Here are some early impressions of my experience mapping and editing trees in the tree map.

1. I think I’m going to keep a tape measure in my pocket from now on.  As I bike, walk or drive around town, I’m suddenly wishing I could measure the diameter of a big tree so I can get that data in the tree map.

2.  I’m spending a lot more time looking up.  Mapping trees is making me look at tree canopy differently. I’m much more observant of where parks and streets have canopy and where they don’t.  I’m now looking for future planting sites and where we can fit more trees.

3. It’s a lot of fun.  I’ve been out gathering data with my six year old.  We go back to the computer and log in the information.  I’m now being asked when we can go map some more trees.  I really like that the activity of adding trees to the tree map is relatively painless and really rewarding.

Have you been mapping trees?  What have you learned from the experience?


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2 thoughts on “Keep a Tape Measure In Your Pocket”

  1. Natalie says:

    This project has brought me back to botany after getting a bachelor’s degree in botany and then not using it much for over 10 years. I’m excited about relearning how to identify trees (I’m using “Michigan Trees” by Barnes and Wagner), and it’s fun to input what I find out into the tree map.
    The overall goal of this project is great and I love to picture a greener city with more shade and cleaner air. It seems like getting kids involved in this, maybe through the schools, would be a great way to get more work done and provide education. Perhaps kids could learn about tree varieties and pick one they like, then plant one near their house and take care of it. The trees could have a tag with the kid’s name on it or the name of someone they want to dedicate it to.
    As you can tell, this project has inspired me and I hope it is very successful. I’ll be eagerly awaiting volunteer opportunities!


  2. Lee says:

    Thanks Natalie! We’re excited that you’ve found this project quite enjoyable. Keep your eyes on our calendar (found in the top right corner of the site) as we’re adding a bunch of coming events for October to celebrate NeighborWoods!

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