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Advancing Research & Conservation in Alpine Environments using Citizen Science

Gerdes, Nolan Reid
How can science and the arts collaborate to expand the breadth of research and promote the conservation of our natural world? This was one of the many questions at the heart of my Capstone because I personally thought art and science ran parallel to one another and could not be used in conjunction. In Summer 2022, I traveled to three locations: The Nelchina Valley located near the Chugach region of Alaska, the Northern Wind River Range between Elkhart Park and Titcomb Basin, and the Southern Wind River Range around the Cirque of the Towers, Shadow Lake, and Big Sandy Lake in Northwest Wyoming. The goal of my Capstone was to capture images of vegetation then submit them to the Global Vegetation Project, a worldwide repository of georeferenced vegetation data. I entered 59 photos in previously undocumented areas from each of these three regions then developed a public-facing website to document my journey and artistic process.  My hope is to share photographic data points of vegetation (including Crowberry, Labrador tea, White Spruce, various species of Sage, White Pine, and more) in alpine environments that will provide a record of the three regions I documented over time. Beyond contributing to future research and conservation efforts with my own data, I hope my work inspires others to participate in citizen science by promoting the visual arts in conservation and research. Included in the files of this thesis are the contents of a website ( https://ngerdescapstone.myportfolio.com/ ) I created to display my work and reach a broader audiance. The website is composed of four main pages and a contact/about page. The Artistic Reflection page houses my artistic reflection which is formatted as a PDF. The Photos page is made up of the 59 photos I submitted to the Global Vegetation Project. The Expeditions page includes photos from each of the three expeditions I embarked on over the Summer 2022. Photos and Expeditions are zipped files which contain the photos from the website. Finally, the Additional Resources page included extra informtion such as maps and links to reference articles.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries