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National Middle Level Science Teacher's Association

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Trees Challenge 2020: Make Every Tree Count

  • 02/10/2020 4:59 PM
    Message # 8738532
    Deleted user

    Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

    Participate with NASA in the Trees Challenge 2020: Make Every Tree Count


    What is Trees Challenge 2020?

    It’s a month-long citizen science challenge being hosted this April by GLOBE Observer* in celebration of Earth Day.  Participants around the world will use the Trees tool in the free GLOBE Observer app to measure the height of as many different trees as possible throughout the month. The observations provide comparison data for satellite measurements of tree height, and can lend themselves to some interesting interpretive and educational interactions. GLOBE Observer is inviting the Earth to Sky community and others to incorporate this challenge into Earth Day planning.


    How to Participate/Learn More

    You can participate in the challenge as an individual, as a school, or as part of an informal education or community team. 


    For Educators - GLOBE Observer is giving a webinar February 19 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST to introduce the Trees Challenge and a package of related resources.

    Information will be included about trees and NASA science, connections to local tree science relevant to your community, ideas about how to manage a Trees challenge, learning activities, and more. 

    Register for the webinar:


    Interested but can’t attend? The webinar will be recorded and provided for reference on the challenge webpage:


    A couple of National Parks have already expressed interest in joining the challenge. ETS member David Shelley (Congaree NP) remarked, “I think it’s a *great* conversation point / interpretive opportunity to have staff and volunteers collecting these measurements at an obvious, crowded location. It provides an entry point to talk about *how* (without starting at the potentially politically-charged what or why) NASA scientists measure global change. Measuring eye-level features with a satellite is a pretty darn cool technological feat.  That NASA can even do this is a step towards reinforcing trust in science.”  David is referencing the IceSAT2 satellite, which observes tree height using laser altimetry. It’s so accurate that it would be like having the average adult look down and accurately measure the height of a fine human hair lying on the ground!


    David continued, “It is also a great opportunity to talk about how foresters measure tree height using shadows, tape measures, inclinometers, or laser range finders. It can be empowering for visitors to look at the world around them and realize that they can personally observe/measure it systematically (again, reinforcing trust in science).“


    *The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program provides students and the public in 120+ countries worldwide with the opportunity to participate in data collection and the scientific process, and contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the Earth system and global environment. GLOBE Observer is a free app-based citizen science initiative collecting data from a subset of the larger GLOBE Program’s environmental science areas. It’s open to anyone in a GLOBE country who would like to download the free app on their smart device and sign up for an account. The app guides users through data collection and doesn’t require any prior training to get started.

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