NateOrtiz shows his app’s information on the monkeypod tree he’s standing under.
it’s the next generation of thinkers and learners that is best equipped to
deploy the next generation of technology. Everyone has seen youths navigating
the often bewildering technological landscape with ease, so it’s only fitting
that a pair of students has created a fun, useful, and user-friendly app to
bridge the increasing divide between the natural and the digital world.
CTAHRundergraduate Nate Ortiz, who works as a landscape assistant when he’s not
taking classes, partnered with Zoology student Austin Stankus to develop the
UHM Plant Map, which allows
users to search, sort, and navigate through every single tree on campus from
desktop or mobile devices. Each clickable tree yields an image, general
information, and links to more detail, and searches can be delimited to yield
all poisonous trees, agricultural crops, canoe plants, medicinals, and more.
baobab tree on the UH Manoa campus may be the largest in the United States.
target audience is two-fold: landscape crew and supervisors use the system for
grounds management, while the general public can more knowledgably navigate the
landscape. This project supports sustainable management decisions while
simultaneously increasing the educational potential of the landscape, in
keeping with the campus’s recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation as a USA Tree
Campus for its unique botanical treasures and its commitment to planting,
preserving, and educating the university and the larger community about them.
Ortiz is also involved,
along with fellow CTAHR students Andrew Dedrick and Mitchell Loo, in another
type of collaboration between the green and the urban landscape. The three are
co-founders of Urban Farm Hawai‘i, a nonprofit hui aimed at proving that just
about any area can support food production. Witness their latest project:
planting taro along a Kaka‘ako thoroughfare, in a patch of land fronting the
former CompUSA store. The students expect to harvest huli, lu‘au leaves, and at
least one crop of taro before the area is redeveloped. Likewise, they’ve
planted a row of banana trees in a nearby parking lot that are already
developing harvestable keiki. If proliferating technology and urban spread are
the hallmarks of the future, we’re lucky that these students will be there to
help integrate them with agriculture.