The Long Forest project is a community engagement project that aims to safeguard Welsh hedgerows. It is a collaboration between Keep Wales Tidy and the Woodland Trust, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. exeGesIS were contracted to undertake part of the Development Phase of the project, the work being split into two parts.
The first part was a review of the available historic and cultural data, along with options for using them and the opportunities for public engagement in this area. We contacted a number of potential data holders by phone and email to discuss the data they held and how it could be used within the Long Forest project. Much of this information was only available in non-digital formats, but we identified several potentially very useful digital datasets and the options for utilising them. We also considered the opportunities for engaging the public through historic and cultural data dissemination and collection.
The second part was a review of the available options for a website and mobile app. As the project was still in an early stage, the Long Forest project team had no preconceived ideas regarding these, so we were able to fully explore all the possibilities. This included practical considerations, such as which platforms to use, how to implement bilingual display and the use of social media, as well as specific functionality that the website and mobile app could have. Options included:
- Crowd sourced mapping of extant and historic hedgerows
- A hedgerow survey mobile app with an integrated plant identification tool and associated web-based survey management
- Event management, covering everything from talks to practical hedgerow management sessions
- The use of Quick Response (QR) codes placed around the countryside to alert mobile app users to features of interest and present them with relevant information
- Games to engage the interest of all ages, some of which could also be used to generate useful data
Mock-ups were created for the crowdsourced mapping of hedgerows and the hedgerow survey app.
Further information from Mike Lush.