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February 2012

Lay claim to your personal conservation plot with Adopt-an-Acre

Many of us would like to know how we can have a positive impact upon our environment and preserves areas that we care about.

The Nature Conservancy has just made it easier with their Adopt-an-Acre program. They’ve updated their mapping tool today as the result of a Google Earth Outreach Developer Grant, which offers funding to organizations that create clever, cutting-edge applications using Google mapping technologies.

One of the solutions for widespread habitat loss is to acquire large plots of land for conservation. Since 1991, the Adopt-an-Acre program has protected more than 600,000 acres spanning from North America to Africa and Australia, even protecting offshore areas critical for delicate coral reefs and humpback breeding grounds.

There are two featured areas that allow you to adopt a specific acre, the Nash Prairie Preserve in Texas and the Warm Springs Mountain Preserve in Virginia. Simply fly to ground level on the embedded Google Map and choose your acre. You can also select your plot through Google Earth by clicking on the “View in Google Earth” link. This map enables any interested individual to make a pledge and help restore an acre of land to its pristine state.

Best of all, you can adopt an acre in the name of a loved one or as a gift to someone else. Their name will appear on the map alongside others who have entered their names in support of preserving wild America.

To learn more about this project, visit the Google Lat Long Blog.

The Human Cost of Coal

Appalachian Voices have been using Google Earth KML, Google Maps and Google Maps API for many years to engage the public in the issue of mountaintop removal coal mining. One such example is their "What's My Connection?" map which lets people enter their zip code and find out what connection their energy supplier has to this type of mining.

Their latest initiative uses Google Maps to tell the story of "The Human Cost of Coal". This map uses health and socioeconomic data gathered from a variety of data sources and allows you to visualise this on the map. Topics such as life expectancy changes and respiratory diseases can be explored. The map uses colour coded parcels to show each region and lets you read more statistics when you click on the map.

These kinds of examples can provide a powerful understanding to people wishing to learn more about the effects of mountaintop removal -- and offers them the knowledge without having to trawl through thousands of pages of documents.

We'll see you next month! In the meantime, you can stay in touch with the latest news from @earthoutreach on Twitter!