By Kristen Alberti
Listen Up, Lansing

You’re sitting in a park enjoying a lovely afternoon with some friends. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and a group of people are running around behind you searching through trees and bushes. Your curiosity is piqued when you see them whip out GPS systems, but you never get the guts to ask them what they’re doing. Meanwhile, Jessica Rehling, a student behavior and conflict resolution administrator at Michigan State University, is leading a group of her friends on a trip through the forest to find a geocache, or as she would say, a hidden treasure. Geocaching is like a scavenger hunt made by anyone around you, said Rehling.

Stream app turns citizens into scientists

Capital News Service
LANSING – At the bottom of Chris Lowry’s research project homepage is a bold motto: “We
are all scientists.”
It’s a mantra that Lowry, an assistant professor of hydrogeology at the University of Buffalo in New York, follows while seeking to understand how water moving through watersheds changes over time across the Great Lakes region. Lowery can’t collect data from more than 50 places at once by himself, so he’s recruiting “citizen scientists” in Michigan, Wisconsin and New York. His new phone app, CrowdHydrology, allows anyone to send information on stream depths in specific locations with the swipe of a thumb. Jill Martin, an interpretive naturalist for Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake, is setting up
several stations there. An estimated 70,762 visitors came to the park in 2013.

State officials launch tourism initiative to promote trail network

Capital News Service
LANSING — Information for all Michigan trails – including those on the water – would soon be available at the click of a button under legislation recently introduced by lawmakers. That kind of accessibility is part of the Department of Natural Resource’s  plan to attract tourists to Michigan’s trails by improving them and making them easier to find. Lawmakers recently introduced a package of five bills that would label all state trails as Pure Michigan trails, use “trail towns” to connect trails between communities and make trail information available both on a computer and through an app. The department worked closely with the Michigan Trails and Greenway Alliance to develop the plan and the legislation to implement it. The legislation also includes a bill that would take the snowmobile specification out of the Michigan snowmobile and trails advisory council.