A new garden design tool being developed at NCSU will be a valuable resource for beekeepers, gardeners and wildlife advocates. With students at NC State, Assistant Professor of Applied Ecology Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt is developing an online tool for designing and visualizing pollinator gardens.
Dr. Youngsteadt’s research and outreach deal with the ecology and health of pollinators in urban environments. She says, “I have noticed that a barrier for homeowners who want to create pollinator habitat is their discomfort with the garden design process, particularly when faced with lists of pollinator-friendly plants that may not be traditional ornamentals.”
To overcome this barrier, Youngsteadt is working with NCSU’s computer science students to develop an online garden-design tool, driven by a database of recommended pollinator plants for North Carolina. The app will allow users to design a garden, see how it would look, check for recommended design features, and make adjustments prior to real-world installation.
With some important differences, she envisions something similar to what Better Homes and Gardens offers on their app:
Beyond its pollinator-friendly plant palette and the ability to show the garden in side view AND layout view, the application will also generate reminders if a planned garden doesn’t meet recommendations such as having variety in flower colors and shapes in each season.
This fall, the software project made the cut for development in the Senior Design Center capstone course at NC State. The Senior Design Center is funded by donations; since this project was accepted, Youngsteadt needs to raise $5000 to support their work on the garden-design app. Individual and club contributions may be made to the Youngsteadt Lab online at http://go.ncsu.edu/youngsteadtlab
Your gift will support the NCSU Department of Applied Ecology, including but not limited to, the programs and activities of Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt’s lab. Please indicate that your gift is in support of Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt by clicking on “Honor, Memory or Support Information” and filling in the first two boxes. Fund raising efforts for the Applied Ecology Enhancement Fund operate under the auspices of The North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3, non-profit (Tax id 56-6049304). You will receive an official receipt for your donation.
Younsteadt says, the application “will be free to use! It will be hosted on an NC State website and users will need to create an account, but I plan on most if not all functions being free. To support maintenance costs, we might add premium features in the future, but the core functionality will be available to everyone.”
To help with future usability testing, please email Youngsteadt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She may be able to present to your group about her urban pollinator research.