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Informing Community Decisions Through the Inventory of Local Lands Course

Posted: May 21st, 2013

Jess-Wildlife-Camera

Many communities in Massachusetts own land, but the citizens aren’t always sure what types of natural resources are on it or what their conservation options are.  This spring semester, the “Natural Resources Inventory of Local Lands” class developed natural resource inventories for the 53-acre Bill Rivers Conservation Area in the town of Leverett and a 150-acre town forest in Gill.  The goal of the inventories was to give these communities the information they need to make informed conservation decisions.

Working in interdisciplinary teams, students designed and implemented natural resource inventories to gather data on wildlife habitat, wetland resources, forest vegetation, and invasive species.  Students collected and analyzed data, interpreted results, created GIS maps, and produced a professional report for each of these communities. View the Bill Rivers Conservation Area inventoryView the Gill town forest inventory.

In addition, students presented their findings at a conservation committee meeting in each town, answering questions and informing the community’s discussion of the future management of their properties.

Not only were the students able to put into practice the theories and techniques they have been taught, but they have made an important conservation impact by informing the decisions of these local communities and inspiring them into action!