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April Mulherin
Associate Director of Media Relations
Office: (207) 778-7081
Cell: (207) 491-0064
TDD: (207) 778-7000
april.mulherin@maine.edu

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UMF Computer Science Student Creates Free Mobile Device “App” to Help Fight Invasive Aquatic Plants

FARMINGTON, ME (August 8, 2013)—Invasive aquatic plants are an escalating problem in Maine, and one that University of Maine at Farmington senior RP123-078and computer science major from Gardiner Christopher Bond wants to help prevent.

Bond has created a free “app”—or specialized software program to use with a mobile device—that will help people in the field identify invasive aquatic plant species in bodies of water in Maine and report them to a Maine organization whose mission is to keep a watchful eye on the health of Maine lakes.

As a junior at UMF, Bond joined a core group of UMF faculty researchers and student interns working on a National Science Foundation Grant project to protect Maine’s natural resources and help advance economic development in the Rangeley Lakes Region.

“UMF’s five-year NSF EPSCoR Grant has brought together a number of community leaders, educators and student interns like Chris who are all focused on helping the Rangeley region sustain its economy with sound environmental practices,” said Christopher Bennett, UMF assistant professor of computer science and Bond’s faculty advisor. “Chris’s project is a great example of how today’s technology can help us do that.”

Bond’s invasive aquatic plant app features 11 of the most frequently encountered invasive aquatic plants in Maine. With a series of questions and high quality graphics, the app helps the viewer identify the suspected intruders. Once identified, the viewer can attach a photo of the plant and the GPS coordinates of its location to an email that is then sent to the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program that helps protect Maine lakes.

“Working as an intern with the NSF Grant project has been a great professional experience,” said Bond. “UMF’s computer science program really prepared me for the kind of hands-on work a research project like this requires. It’s very rewarding to know the results of my internship could help in the fight to keep Maine waterways free from invasive plants.”

Bond has published the invasive aquatic plant app on the Android app store where it is downloadable for free.  He is also currently working on “Angler,” an app that helps Rangeley area fishermen comply with current laws and prevent over fishing, and a stewardship app that provides self-guided tours and folklore of the Rangeley area.

The NSF EPSCoR Grant is in the fourth year of UMF’s five-year study in partnership with The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust and the Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum, community advisors, and area educators and high school students to understand how good sustainability practices in the region work to help protect and sustain its broad outdoor-based tourism economy.

More on University of Maine at Farmington

A nationally-recognized liberal arts college, UMF enjoys a nearly 150-year tradition of providing a quality academic experience combined with the personal attention and close student / faculty collaboration that helps prepare all students to be successful. Rooted in a tradition of teacher preparation, UMF offers top quality programs in the arts and sciences, teacher preparation and pre-professional studies. UMF is located in the heart of Maine’s four-season outdoor recreational region and is a welcoming, close-knit academic community that prepares students for engaged citizenship, enriching professional careers and an enduring love of learning.

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Media Contact: Christopher Bennett, UMF assistant professor of computer science, 207-778-7114, or chris.bennett@maine.edu

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo can be found at http://inside.umf.maine.edu/files/2013/08/RP123-078.jpg

Photo Credit: UMF photo

Photo Caption: Christopher Bond, UMF computer science student, creates free mobile-device “app” to help fight invasive aquatic plants.