LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning March 21st and continuing until Earth Day 2018, hundreds of students from Los Angeles STEM science programs will participate in one of the largest student-driven programs ever launched to protect the world's rainforests.
The "Planet Guardians" program, developed by the global NGO Rainforest Connection and its founder, Topher White, will involve some of LA's leading STEM middle schools building "Guardian" devices. These devices, constructed by students from old, upcycled smartphones which are transformed into solar-powered listening tools through Google's open source machine learning framework, TensorFlow. They will then be installed high in trees of the world's most fragile rainforests, capturing any sounds of illegal logging and alerting forest rangers in real time. Guardians built in March 2018 by LA students will be installed in April in Peru, Brazil and Indonesia and are expected to protect nearly 100,000 acres through the year 2020.
RFCx's Planet Guardians program involves students in the real work of protecting the rainforest while integrating STEM education. The program launches on March 21 with workshops led by Topher White at the STEM Academy of Hollywood and the Girls Academic Leadership Academy, followed by Magnolia Science Academy in Reseda and Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development on March 22, and North Hollywood High School Zoo Magnet Center and STEM 3 Academy in North Hollywood on March 23.
During the workshops, students will watch a brand-new film by Google, "Beneath the Canopy," about White's work with the Tembé indigenous tribe in Brazil, warding off illegal loggers that devastate tribal lands. Following the film, students participate in live Google Hangouts with Tembé tribal rangers, before building Guardian devices that will be sent to the Tembé to help protect their lands.
Once these Guardian devices are installed in the Tembé lands, LA students who built the devices, will receive real-time text alerts about illegal logging activity detected by the guardians.
RFCx believes that building Guardians will become a STEM science learning activity for schools nationwide. Beyond seeing nearly immediate environmental impacts from their work, this program provides students with hands-on experience in electronics, solar power, Android software development, and a primer in developing artificial-intelligence-driven neural networks built on Google's TensorFlow. Most importantly, this program bridges the gap between LA students, upcycled electronic tinkering, software driven data analysis, backyard ecology and the dramatic struggles underway on the other side of the planet to protect Earth's wildest places.
Adds White, "Our devices are currently some of our planet's most fragile rainforests. We believe having students involved in building "Guardians" is an incredible STEM learning activity, and also nurtures an interest in protecting our environment at a very young age."
To learn more, please visit:
Press Links: https://rfcx.org/press.html
Google's film, "Beneath the Canopy": http://bit.ly/beneath-the-canopy-film
Innovative Media Productions, Inc.
SOURCE Rainforest Connection