Wisconsin’s Prairies: Past, Present, and Future by Randi Selvey

COURSE: Geography 572: Graphic Design in Cartography

MEDIUM: Website, Graphic Essay, Digital Illustration, Photography/Prints, Map

My submission is a storymap, using Esris’s storymap tool. This artifact combines a variety of media, including photographs, maps, and illustrations to tell the story of prairies in Wisconsin, and consider their future.

The goal of this project was to demonstrate visual storytelling by combining disparate information to unite maps with other supporting graphics and images. Presenting information similarly to a longform infographic but with more user interaction can help in communicating a narrative with a lasting message. I chose to focus on native prairies. While working as a field research technician in the UW Agroecology department I have had the opportunity to learn from experts in the agroecology field about the importance of prairies. This experience allowed me to learn both what is known, and consider topics still under research, and overall feel a strong sense of connection to the project, as well allowed for use of my own photographs taken at work. A difficult aspect of bringing this idea to life came when trying to abstract Wisconsin’s complicated history of landcover into a shorter story. To decide which details to include I tried to consider who my goal audience was. I imagined this project could be used as an education tool for persons with no background in environmental. Ideally, this project might spark thoughts of prairies and their importance to the landscape in the future.

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