the area and record findings
Mark on a map
the area that will be included in the study. The best maps for this
purpose are from the U.S. Geological Service (USGS). While USGS
maps come in several scales, select the largest one possible so
sites can be labeled and clearly read, but do not make the map so
large that it becomes unmanageable.
Then start collecting
information. Are sites or structures listed on an historical register?
Is there documented habitat for any federal or state endangered
or rare species? What is the water quality in a stream? What is
the use of a park? These types of questions exemplify what needs
to be asked.
is collected, consider inputting all information into a computer
database. This can be an efficient means for storing, accessing,
ordering and replicating information gathered.
2. Get folks
to work on the inventory both gathering information and reviewing
it. Universities can often provide information and even students
to help. One good assignment is to have volunteers take photographs
while on walks or bike or car trips. Provide people with maps so
they can mark the locations of their photographs for future reference.
These pictures may also be used later in audiovisual presentations
to educate and engage more people.
3. Get the
Once the work
is done, it cannot remain on a shelf forgotten. The inventory must
be used to help people get to where they want to be in the years
ahead. Creatively used, an inventory can be a powerful public involvement
tool. Here are few ideas:
- Create posters
with an illustrative map of the area or a large photograph that
captures the place and a synopsis of the information in narrative.
Sometimes these posters can be used as a bonus to new members
of an organization or sold for fundraising.
- Produce a
high-quality booklet with excellent photography, good illustrations
and narrative explanations written for a non-technical audience.
- Develop audiovisual
presentations targeted to different age groups and interests.
Groups are often looking for speakers and will welcome a presentation
at a meeting, whether slides or video.
- Publish findings
and photographs on a web site.
an event such as a tour in the area that was inventoried. Point
out significant findings and summarize highlights. The people
who need to support a project may not be familiar with the location;
take them to it.
It may be necessary
to complete a detailed document especially for large and complicated
projects or to satisfy legal requirements. If financial resources
allow, there should also be an eye-catching, easy-to-read summary
to share with the community.