Digital Trends: How Instagram’s being used to make the outdoors more inclusive and diverse. “This is Ambreen Tariq, founder of the Instagram account Brown People Camping. As a South Asian immigrant, a person of color, and a Muslim woman, Tariq wanted to create something capable of utilizing personal narratives and storytelling to promote diversity in outdoor communities. With the creation of BPC, she’s able to authentically discuss how her identities shape her outdoor experiences. By sharing her own personal stories via the account, she hopes it inspires others to step outside their comfort zone, as well.”
Lonely Planet: See California’s redwood forests for free and help protect them into the future. “Redwood State Parks contain part of the ancient coastal forest that originally spanned more than 2.2 million acres along California’s Big Sur Coast and north into Oregon. The gigantic trees were heavily hit by the demand for lumber following the 1849 Gold Rush, suffering a devastating reduction to cover only 5% of their original range. Thankfully, conservation efforts launched 100 years ago to help save the lumbering giants, which are now a huge attraction to nature-loving visitors in California.” An online guide to the 80+ redwood forest parks in California launches later this month.
The Conversation: AI is learning from our encounters with nature – and that’s a concern. “The idea seems wonderful – a phone app that allows you to take a photo of a plant or animal and receive immediate species identification and other information about it. A ‘Shazam for nature’ so to speak. We are building huge repositories of data related to our natural environments, making this idea a reality. But there are ethical concerns that should be addressed: about how data is collected and shared, who has the right to share it and how we use public data for machine learning. And there’s a bigger concern – whether such apps change what it means to be human.”
Conde Nast Traveler: A Grove of Redwood Trees Is Being Ruined by Social Media. “Located in Jedediah Smith State Park, about nine miles east of Crescent City near the border of Oregon and California, the ‘Grove of Titans’ is reportedly the largest community of redwood trees ever discovered. It’s lesser known than other California redwoods, like those in Big Basin and Humboldt State Parks, but what makes it extra-appealing is its unmarked location north of the park’s trail. The researchers who discovered the grove in 1998 kept its exact spot a secret, so tourists who went in search of the area found it through unofficial park sources, like Google maps. A few years ago, someone posted a photo of the grove on social media with its GPS coordinates, drawing in thousands of tourists to look for the spot.”
DigitalNC: Images and Vertical Files from our Newest Partner, the Forest History Society. “Photographs and vertical files from our newest partner, The Forest History Society, are now online at DigitalNC. The Forest History Society is a nonprofit organization located in Durham, North Carolina, that is dedicated to the collection and preservation of materials concerning forest history and conservation. The Forest History Society represents information about forestry around the world, but the materials now up on DigitalNC are specific to North Carolina.”
The National: Take a walk in Scotland’s national park – without going outside. “Panoramic footage of off-road walks through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park has been posted on Google Maps. It took staff a fortnight to traverse walkways around Balloch and beyond wearing a 20kg backpack bearing recording equipment.”
The South African: South African national parks now on Google Street View. “The new trails, launched yesterday, extend the existing Street View imagery of South Africa’s wilderness areas to include all 19 national parks, 17 previously ‘un-trekked’ nature reserves and many sites of natural, cultural and historical significance in all nine provinces of South Africa.”