Modernizing Plant Records Management in National Parks
2017 PTT Grant, NPS, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, $38,100
This project seeks to pilot IrisBG, one of the leading plant records management software programs, at two national parks, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (MA) and John Muir National Historic Site (CA) over the course of six months. The goal of the project is to assess the use and benefits of IrisBG at two geographically and botanically distinct parks, working with employees across cultural resources, natural resources, maintenance, and interpretation to develop best practices and produce evidence‐based management strategies. This effort will include creating guidelines for aggregating and importing large datasets, streamlining workflows, and developing interpretive tools for modern technology that can be shared with parks throughout the agency and allied institutions. Funding will be used to purchase a software license and hire a six‐month research associate with a computer science background to assist with data conversion and software implementation.
The project outcomes align closely with goals outlined in the National Park Service (NPS) Director’s Order 100: Resource Stewardship for the 21st Century, with a particular focus on incorporating emerging technologies into resource management to conduct sound science and engage the public. Plant records management software will enhance communication between disciplines by providing a unified platform for data sharing and analytical decision making. Web and mobile publishing tools will be used to share non‐sensitive vegetation information with the public and third‐party researchers, allowing NPS to reach broader audiences and participate actively in climate change and biodiversity research currently driven by public gardens and arboreta.