Dr. Thomas Sasek and ULM colleagues Dr. Joydeep Bhattacharjee and Dennis Bell have received an enhancement grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents to support the educational outreach objectives outlined in the original NSF CyberFlora Louisiana grant. The one-year budget is for $56,000. These educational outreach activities will provide valuable enhancement to ULM undergraduate students studying plant-related topics and to citizens throughout the state who will have access to online resources developed during project.
The goals of this proposal include 1) Accelerating development of a live plants image database by acquiring digital SLR cameras for students to use in various plant-related courses at ULM. Some courses would emphasize images of comparisons of morphological features while others would emphasize images captured in the field. 2) Learning to prepare and present visual identification keys and fact sheets about plants using software templates and guided interfaces. 3) Create a virtual reality display for the public area of the ULM Museum of Natural History by creating onscreen rotatable object movies and panoramas.
A virtual collection of plant information for the state could increase interest in plant sciences, leading to a greater appreciation of the importance of plants and their conservation. For schools, museums, wildlife refuges, and parks, the availability of images, keys, and useful information will also stimulate more interest in plants and their conservation.