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Voinovich Scholar designs StoryMap to visualize stream projects

Hardika Singh
May 5, 2020
Caroline Van Hook headshot
Caroline Van Hook, Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholar, who designed the StoryMap.

Caroline Van Hook, Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholar on the energy and environment team, created a visualization of the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs multiple stream riparian planting projects in an interactive ArcGIS StoryMap.

The Voinovich School and its partners have conducted stream riparian plantings, the practice of planting trees along the banks of the river, to help improve water quality, promote habitat biodiversity, and reduce nutrient contamination and pollution. 

Van Hook used ArcGIS StoryMap software to combine information about the Voinovich School projects into a single map showing various places where the trees were planted. Viewers can interact with the map by zooming in and out of the geographical area and observe Voinovich’s impact in Southeast Ohio first-hand. By denoting the location of the projects, Van Hook hopes to make people feel connected to the land.

“I wanted to use [the StoryMap] platform as a way to educate people on why we are doing these projects and why they are important for the health of our ecosystem,” said Van Hook, who added the project descriptions, photos, and project location to the StoryMap. “As a person who deeply cares about the environment, I found it necessary to share the impact of our projects with the rest of the community.” 

In a collaborative effort with the Athens Sunrise Rotary, the Voinovich School planted trees along the banks and in the floodplain of the Hocking River near the Columbus Road bike path spur. The upland vegetation will provide longer-term river migration stability near the sections of river that are prone to flooding and erosion.  

Additionally, in celebration of Earth Day 2019, the Voinovich School collaborated with Amesville Elementary students to plant over 200 seedlings along Federal Creek. The trees will help increase the vegetative buffer and reduce flooding and runoff impact.  

This year’s planting will take place in Belmont County in the Captain Creek Watershed on the Rainbow’s End Preserve during May, 2020.  

Van Hook was assisted in the project by her supervisor, Voinovich School Director of Environmental Programs Jen Bowman, and environmental specialist Nora Sullivan. View the project.