Thanks to students from The Blake School, visitors to the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission (BCWMC) website can now take a virtual tour of four of the watershed’s management projects. In a first of its kind collaboration with the Bassett Creek Watershed organization, photography and environmental science students from The Blake School in Minneapolis worked with the BCWMC staff and city staff from New Hope, Golden Valley and Minneapolis to create the interactive photographs.
BCWMC Administrator Laura Jester says this is the first time the organization has worked with students to create educational materials to be used by the public. The production work for the project began in September when students and teachers from The Blake School descended on sections of Bassett Creek in New hope, Golden Valley and Minneapolis. During the field trip photography and science students worked together to learn about and photograph the water management projects and other key points in each area. Back at school, students performed more research, including gathering historical and scientific information, to create a unique product full of photos and information. “The benefits of this collaboration at two-fold,” said Jester. “The Blake School students learned more about stream improvement projects and water resources, and they shared what they learned by creating an informative, interactive virtual tour of each location.”
Virtual tours were created for four different projects constructed by the BCWMC to help improve water quality and habitat in the creek including the Northwood Lake Improvement Project in New Hope, a streambank restoration site and the Wirth Lake outlet structure in Theodore Wirth Park, and a future streambank restoration project near the historic Fruen Mill along Glenwood Avenue.
At each location students used a 360o camera to photograph the entire site – allowing an online viewer to “spin around” in a circle as if standing in that location. Photos of plants, animals, or objects at each project area are linked within the 360o photo, along with text describing the object of the photo. The end result is an interactive photograph that allows the viewer a virtual tour of the project and information on key aspects of the area.
Teachers Lizz Buchanan, Elizabeth Flinsch, Lisa Sackreiter and Will Bohrnsen along with student Emma Steffen, presented the results of the project to commissioners with the Bassett Creek Watershed at their meeting on November 16th. The final product can be viewed on the BCWMC website at four specific webpages: