Ballyshannon Challenge Grant Success
By Samantha Bowers, TACF Grants Manager
Thanks to members like you we not only met the $50,000 challenge grant from the Ballyshannon Fund in Charlottesville, VA, we exceeded it! The challenge grant leveraged a total of $136,050 raised from new members, individuals, foundations, and previously lapsed donors to TACF. The Ballyshannon Fund has been a longtime supporter of ours and challenged us to find new donors and re-engage with donors that had not given in a while.
The funds from the Ballyshannon Fund will be used to further develop our tree database which houses information on well over 300,000 chestnut trees. Data is changing the face of our world. DentataBase, TACF’s custom tree database, empowers TACF staff and partners with summary data at the click of a button, increasing our efficiency and extending the reach of our limited dollars.
Our next dentataBase development phase will include:
- Improving Data Integrity: dentataBase houses hundreds of thousands of data elements and is designed around a complex data model. As more people use dentataBase, the potential for incorrect or inappropriate data entry increases. We will increase the controls on data entry to ensure data integrity.
- Introducing a Reporting Element: At the project’s onset, basic systems to export data were created while limited resources targeted other priority features. Currently, we can only export small amounts of raw data at a time and manually manipulate it, which is labor-intensive. Automatically populated reports will give users aggregated information about trees of interest to them, which will increase the utility of the system and encourage wider adoption.
- Integration of TreeSnap Application: At this time, one of TACF’s highest priorities is to conserve a minimum of 1500 unique sources of wild American chestnuts in the next 10 years. A new smartphone application called TreeSnap was released by colleagues at the University of Kentucky. Users can photograph, detail, and geotag American chestnut locations. Communicating with TreeSnap will empower scientists to further relate breeding and research information, engage citizen-scientists in a meaningful way, and identify new wild trees to create a more diverse and resilient restoration population of American chestnuts. Download the app today and give it a try.
It is not just about bringing back the chestnut for the chestnut’s sake, but for the rippling environmental benefits it would bring with it. We are so glad that members and individuals like you continue on this hopeful journey with us. Thank you!