Time Lapse

by Carl Strang

Earlier this week, Sam Droege of the U.S. Geological Survey presented a new idea for crowd-sourced monitoring of environmental change over time. The idea is to set up a standardized station, or set of them, from which photos could be taken with any camera or camera phone. The shared photos then could be standardized as Sam describes, resulting in a series comparing the scene over the seasons and years. (This is not the first time one of Sam’s ideas has appeared in this blog; I featured the Cricket Crawl a while back).

The photo station idea intrigued Jon Marshall of DJ Case & Associates (developers of the Observe Your Preserve website for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, as well as other web-based platforms for natural resource agencies).  Jon put together a website promoting Sam’s idea, including his 3-minute descriptive video (http://monitorchange.org/). We will consider the possibilities for OYP as well.

All of this reminded me of several series of photos I took back in the 1980’s, in which I had spots identified on the ground in prairie, woodland and stream habitats, and took photos through the seasons. The slides belonged to the District, but so far I have been unsuccessful in locating them, except for five duplicates I had at home.

The old dam at Waterfall Glen in August 1984.

The old dam at Waterfall Glen in August 1984.

The same scene in December of that year.

The same scene in December of that year.

Farther downstream on Sawmill Creek in August.

Farther downstream on Sawmill Creek in August.

The same scene in November. Rocks and drift logs in the streambed are largely unchanged, in contrast with the vegetation.

The same scene in November. Rocks and drift logs in the streambed are largely unchanged, in contrast with the vegetation.

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