NEH augmented reality app reveals forest secrets
In New Hampshire’s Shaker Forest, the Entangled Ecologies AR app, funded by a NEH Digital Project for the Public Grant, brings to life the area’s rich blend of history, ecology, and culture. Led by UMaine’s Joline Blais and Dartmouth’s John Bell, the project showcases the forest’s ecological diversity and human history, including rare American chestnut trees and newly nesting loons on Smith Pond.
The land, featuring Mas-kwam-okk Trail and remnants of a Shaker community dam, involves collaborations with various cultural and conservation groups. This innovative app breaks AR boundaries, immersing visitors in the stories of the Abenaki people, Shakers, and other forest interactors. Users can access a database of oral histories, music and data, presented as an integrated part of the forest experience.
Entangled Ecologies is built on three humanities themes:
- human and natural multi-species histories are intertwined,
- ecological knowledge has multimodal origins, and
- presence in nature implies a multitude of past and present interactions.
Entangled Ecologies offers visitors a unique opportunity to connect with the forest’s multi-layered history, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all narratives in the web of life.