As we celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day while practicing social distancing this year, we'll delve into inspiring stories of Humans of IT who leverage their tech superpowers to protect our forests. Read on to learn the story of Dr Nan Pond, Chief Biometric Officer of SilviaTerra. Nan shares her personal experience and how she's using math and analytics to protect our planet.
“No matter what’s happening, trees carry on.”
Meet Dr Nan Pond.
During this uncertain time for the world, Nan finds comfort in the steadfastness of the trees. “No matter what’s going on in the world, the forests are still growing. We don't need to be reminding the trees what to do for us, they're just doing it,” she says. “Our forests clean our air, filter our water, and keep us sane. The more time you spend in them, the more you understand the profound impact they have on you.”
As the Chief Biometric Officer for SilviaTerra, the company behind the forest AI innovations of the FOCUS/Forest project, Nan uses her math and analytic skills to help understand and protect vital forest ecosystems. SilviaTerra uses Microsoft Azure, high-resolution satellite imagery, and US Forest Service inventory and analysis field data to train machine-learning models to measure forests. With this data, they've built the most comprehensive US forest census ever created. Read more about SilviaTerra, how the team is using Azure, or explore the interactive forest data to learn about the impact their work is having.
But Nan’s connection to trees goes beyond work—it’s also deeply personal. “I'm constantly picking up pinecones and handing them to my babies to help them understand that physical connection to nature," says Nan, who hopes her 2-year-old and 11-month old children grow to share her sense of wonder.
This Earth Day and every day, people are thinking about outdoor spaces as an essential resource more keenly than ever before—and Nan sees that as an opportunity. “Right now, as we collectively grieve,” Nan says, “I would hope that people are becoming more intentional about wanting to do right by forests and the environment when the world resolves.”
Get more insights from conservationists like Nan as you celebrate Earth Day at Home this year at Microsoft In Culture.
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