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K-12 Project: GISCorps Volunteer Helps 4-H youth to identify invasive plants, Hamilton County, TN

 In February 2009, the UT-TSU Extension office in Chattanooga, TN requested a GISCorps volunteer to help them install the ArcView software onto their new computers and facilitate group sessions on registering waypoints, downloading it into the computers, and creating printable maps for display. Andrew Carroll, the GIS Manager at ARCS, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, was selected for this project. Andy has been working with the 4-H youth and the 4-H Extension Agent, Dorothy Simmons, since then. The following is a report on the progress of the group on their recent project.

 4-H GIS Tech Team Project Summary

The 4-H GIS Tech Team of Hamilton County, Chattanooga, TN’s project is identifying areas of invasive plants (oriental privet varieties) on a Tennessee Valley Authority property. They worked in pairs and clocked waypoints of their first excursion to find privet-dense areas on the property and created their maps with title, legend, etc. to show one location of the invasive plant; Ligustrum spp., commonly called “privet.”

Jameson and Chad’s privet patch at Greenway

The 4-H’ers are happy about their success of creating their first maps from scratch with Mr. Andy Carroll’s help. We have a team of six new members (6); 4 girls and 2 boys who have completed their maps, especially for exhibit on the November 18th GIS Day celebration. They are hoping to recruit more new members to the team after GIS Day to help with the magnitude of this project.  The GIS Day celebration is planned to be a great learning event for the community. The Hamilton County Mayor has issued a GIS Day proclamation to be read during the celebration at Eastdale Recreation Center, 1314 Moss Drive, Chattanooga, TN., 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. There were activities for all ages, including play dough for the young ones to make their world and GPS games for the older youth.

Privet patch at Greenway
Privet patch at Greenway Farms

The 4-H’ers have learned so much about using GPS units to clock waypoints and the ESRI software to create maps under the direction of Mr. Carroll, affectionately known as Andy by the 4-H’ers. We are so fortunate and appreciative for Mr. Carroll’s willingness to help young people by his volunteer efforts through the GISCorps. Mr. Carroll even invited the Tech team to his GIS classroom at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga campus and they enjoyed every minute of the time spent in UTC campus environment. Yes, we thank Mr. Carroll for his teaching role to help our 4-H GIS Tech Team have success in creating their very own maps. Hats off to Mr. Carroll! “We were benefited very much from having a Volunteer who was knowledgeable in all the aspects that were needed to create the maps and problem-solve problems were encountered.  It helped to provide self-confidence within the youth.”

Dorothy Simmons, Extension Agent
Hamilton County, TN
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