Rivers serve as lifelines to the humans, animals, and plants in the areas where they flow. They naturally assume excess rain and minerals and nurture the growth of every living thing they touch.
That’s why it’s imperative that we preserve our rivers and the natural space surrounding them. Rivers naturally change over time, but recently extreme flooding and other imbalances have caused the erosion of river boundaries, destruction of property, mold, and other problems that pose a danger to the surrounding people and area.
Since 1981, the Tennessee River Gorge Trust has provided a helping hand to preserve the Tennessee River Gorge and the precious plants and animals that live and migrate in that area. The Gorge, a beautiful 26-mile canyon formed near the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, TN, is a wonder to geologists, who believe that it was formed some 290 million years ago.
The folks at the Tennessee River Gorge Trust came to us looking for ways to better communicate with field teams while documenting changes around the river. Here’s how they are leveraging Fulcrum in their efforts to conserve the beautiful Tennessee River Gorge.
What is the mission of your organization?
To preserve the Tennessee River Gorge as a healthy and productive resource through land protection, education, community engagement, and good land stewardship practices.
What challenges do you face in working toward your mission?
Tennessee River Gorge Trust owns over 6,000 acres, and manages an additional 1,000 acres in conservation easement. With a small staff of 6, it is a challenge to patrol all of our acreage each year and to identify and mark all of our boundary areas. The forest is always growing and changing, making it difficult to keep track of maintenance needs.
What is your plan to resolve those issues?
We are excited to use Fulcrum to help us with our field data collection in multiple areas. During 2020, we plan to roll out Fulcrum apps to assist in three major areas:
- Property patrol
- Trail and access point maintenance
- Boundary marking
In future years, we hope to use Fulcrum for other projects such as citizen science data collection, volunteer bio-blitzes, designing trails and access projects with partner groups, and more.
What do you like about working with Fulcrum?
Our ability to glean input from all staff members — from our Executive Director to our Accountant — is game-changing for us. Our Conservation Director, Access Director and Executive Director worked closely to create an app on the Fulcrum platform that met our needs for data collection and helped us answer questions about our property patrols. Now, our entire staff can easily and efficiently enter data any time they’re on our properties. Our field staff may enter more data and because of the mobility, anyone can enter data while driving, walking, boating, or flying (a drone) over the property. Special training was not needed; all they needed was the Fulcrum app on their smartphone.
Our Conservation Director is now able to compile patrol data quickly, syncing Fulcrum to our GIS. She can create reports to send to our board, the Executive Director, or the public-at-large regarding our property patrol, and other issues of importance. This will assist in high-level protection strategies and decision making for the land we own and manage. We can visualize this data spatially to assist in problem solving and strategy, and to create rich visual reports for the public as well.
Another one of our challenges is developing a protocol with the ability to take precision data points while in remote locations without cell phone service — Fulcrum does that. We are currently experimenting building this instance using Fulcrum in tandem with Trimble R1 to enhance our staff device’s signals for data collection.
Overall, we are very excited to use Fulcrum to support our mission of protecting land in the Tennessee River Gorge. We want to thank Fulcrum for a great partnership and support!
Fulcrum is a data collection platform that enables organizations to reduce costs, access critical data in real-time, and improve decision making at every level. With Fulcrum, you can create custom apps using our simple drag-and-drop builder to turn your paper documents into digital forms that your field teams can quickly complete on mobile devices. Our software is available at no cost to humanitarian and volunteer disaster-relief organizations via Fulcrum Community.