2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 294-8
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


RUEGER, Bruce F.1, FURTH, Mary R.2, GEORGE, Sara E.2, LI, Jiawen3 and SHAILER, Mandy4, (1)Colby College, Department of Geology, 5806 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 04901, (2)Colby College, Department of Geology, 5800 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 04901-8858, (3)Geology, Colby College, 8005 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 04901, (4)Department of Conservation Services, Bermuda Government, PO Box FL 145, Flatts, BX, Flatts, FL BX, Bermuda, bfrueger@colby.edu

The islands of Bermuda possess an abundance of parks, reserves and sanctuaries easily available to residents and visitors and provide exceptional opportunities for learning. However, there is a paucity of readily available information for visitors related to the geology, natural history and even the trails within the reserves, making access and learning difficult. By using undergraduate geology students, a collaborative effort between the Department of Conservation Services, the Bermuda National Trust, Walsingham Trust and the Department of Geology at Colby College was developed and is making an attempt to rectify this situation by the creation of downloadable field guides using Google Earth and ESRI Story Maps.

Initial efforts focused on three of the largest nature reserves on Bermuda; Spittal Pond, Cooper’s Island and Walsingham. The first step in this study began with research of journal articles, books and websites to find specific locations of interest and helped focus the study. Once on Bermuda, mapping began by simply walking the trails in each reserve and recording them with a GPS device. During the course of hiking and mapping the trails, geologic points of interest, rock types and other significant natural history items of note were recorded and photographed. Waypoints of these sites were also recorded on the GPS and from them, placemarks that include desciptions and illustrations were created using Google Earth. ESRI Story Maps will also be created for each of these reserves. These points of interest focus on native and endemic vegetation, karst topography and cave features in Walsingham, hurricane events and carbonate sedimentation at Spittal Pond and carbonate sediments, beach environments and fossils at Cooper's Island.

Once data, trail maps and pictures were collected, we were able to plot the trails and create placemarks of points of interest on Google Earth in the development of a natural history guide for each of the three nature reserves. Upon completion and approval by the various agencies on Bermuda, the Google Earth field guides and ESRI Story Maps will be uploaded to a server and made available for residents and visitors to investigate and learn simply by following the guides on their smartphone. Printable guides will also be developed for each of the three reserves.