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Climate Adaptation Practices in 360°

Monday, April 24, 2017 to Friday, May 19, 2017


Launch of our Virtual Demonstration Network: ‘As If You Were There'

If you want to see a practice in action before adopting it for your land or recommending it to others, field visits can be a powerful teacher. Now there is another way.  You can leave your field boots behind and experience many agricultural climate adaptation actions ‘As If You Were There.’ 

In partnership with University of Delaware and other USDA and land grant collaborators, the USDA Northeast Climate Hub recently unveiled its virtual demonstration project, ‘As If You Were There.’  This new and growing network shows practices that help adapt to a changing climate in action on existing farms and forests within the region. The site features interactive 360o photography and videos. This allows users to embark on virtual field tours to visit and consider the experiences of others who are adapting to a changing climate—all from their own computer or mobile devices.

As climate change uniquely impacts all managed lands in both rural and urban settings, sharing adaptation experiences through demonstration can help to convey new ideas and techniques.

The project brings viewers directly into what climate adaption and planning look like right now. Visitors can see how others are dealing with increasing rainfall intensity, extended growing seasons, invasive pests and other weather and climate related risks in the Northeast.

“The purpose of this project is to harness new technology combined with educational storytelling to engage more people in climate informed decision-making,” explains Erin Lane, Coordinator for the USDA Northeast Climate Hub. “We want to help capture and share the stories of innovative land managers and researchers. The intent is to provide our audience with an interactive experience that can create greater understanding and inspiration. The tours are designed to make you feel ‘As If You Were There’.”

The first three demonstration sites launched are called Worcester’s Urban Forest, Forest Management with Providence Water and High Tunnels at DSU.

  • Worcester’s Urban Forest examines the impacts of an Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) infestation on Worcester, Massachusetts, and that community’s decision to eradicate the beetle and replant trees. Healthy trees and forests provide communities with many climate-related benefits. With active planning, management, and care, an urban forest can improve community resilience to heavy rain, and can also reduce high temperatures that result from the heat island effect. 
  • Providence Water has been actively managing the land around the Scituate Reservoir to maintain a resilient forest since the creation of the water supply system. Forest Management with Providence Water looks at trial demonstration sites that are exploring how trees from warmer climates will perform in the area.
  • High Tunnels at DSU (Delaware State University) compares multiple high tunnel designs and provides best practices based on research for producers to improve operations. High tunnels are structures that can help small farmers extend the growing season and protect and improve their operations by serving as a shelter from sun, pests, and intense rain.

With over 20 demonstrations planned for release over the course of this spring and summer, take a break in the shade and immerse yourself in some digital field tours. Meet the people who are addressing these issues in the region today. Learn more about climate change issues across various types of farms and forests, and discover practical adaptation strategies.

So, are you there yet?