Tidmarsh Farms Ecological Restoration and Living Observatory

March 1, 2017
4:00pm — 5:30pm ET

Cranberry bogs are often thought of as an iconic element of Massachusetts' historical, cultural and natural landscapes. Yet, today, due to technological advances, cranberry production is leaving Massachusetts at a rapid rate. This moment of change provides an opportunity to conserve and restore ecologically productive wetlands along the New England coast, and to study the impact of these restorations over time. In 2009, Tidmarsh Farms in Plymouth, Massachusetts chose a process-based, ecological approach to removing major anthropogenic stressors caused by farming and to generate a natural recovery across 225 acres of former cranberry bogs. Led by Alex Hackman of Massachusetts Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, this recently completed project is the largest freshwater restoration to date in Massachusetts. The project offers a model that may be attractive to other commercial cranberry farms in the region (14,000 acres), many of which are suffering intense economic pressure and will seek transition to other uses. In 2011, Living Observatory (LO) was founded as a research field station with the twin goals of documenting the ecological recovery of the restoration site and creating experiences to enhance public understanding of ecological processes. As a founding member, the Responsive Environments group at the MIT Media Lab has instrumented a “networked sensory landscape” across the Tidmarsh Restoration site in order to explore how sensor networks can augment and mediate human interaction and perception.

The physical sensor nodes and a demonstration of virtual Tidmarsh applications will be available to explore following the presentation.


Glorianna Davenport is President of Living Observatory, a Trustee of Tidmarsh Farms, and a Visiting Scientist at the MIT Media Lab.

Alex Hackman is a Restoration Specialist, Ma F & G Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) and Project Manager for the Tidmarsh Farm Restoration.

Joe Paradiso, the Alexander W. Dreyfoos (1954) Professor in Media Arts and Sciences, is Co- Director of the Responsive Environments Group, and Director of the Things That Think Consortium.

Brian Mayton and Gershon Dublon are PhD candidates in the Responsive Environments group.

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