Forest + Carbon Visualization Partnership Contributes to the Upward Ground Summit with a Custom Virtual Reality Experience

The Forest + Climate Visualization Partnership (FCVP) created a site-specific virtual reality demonstration for the Upward Ground Summit at Southern University in Baton Rouge.

Upward Ground attendee using a VR headset.
Photo by American Forests.

The Forest + Climate Visualization Partnership (FCVP) was honored to provide an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience for Upward Ground: A Nature Equity Experience. This half-day summit was hosted by Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Presented by the USDA Forest Service, the summit aimed to support emerging Black leaders and professionals in demanding and achieving environmental justice and climate action.

Aidan Ackerman, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture with the Climate & Applied Forest Research Institute (CAFRI) at SUNY-ESF, created a site-specific interactive VR demonstration showing the potential effects of unmitigated flooding and erosion on campus trees. Attendees of the summit’s “Tech-nically Speaking: Climate & Urban Forestry Technology" session had the opportunity to experience VR technology and interact with ultra-realistic, highly immersive forested landscape scenes tailored to Baton Rouge and the Southern University Campus.

Rising water levels have contributed to erosion and damage to oak trees.
Without mitigation, increased water levels in the future could cause significant further damage.

Beattra Wilson, Assistant Director of Urban and Community Forestry at the USDA Forest Service and Southern University alum, was featured as the summit’s Distinguished Guest. Wilson, along with Asia Dowtin, will be speaking at the Forests + Climate Learning Exchange Series webinar in June on, Dimensions of Urban and Community Forestry. Other Upward Ground leaders included Jasmine Brown, PhD student at Michigan State University Department of Forestry, and Sally Ross—a Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science collaborator who is contributing to development of a course on Urban Forestry. The Forest Carbon and Climate Program is planning to make this online course available to learners in early 2024. Meanwhile, graphics on urban forestry topics such as urban hydrology, air quality, and the heat island effect are currently available for download and use with attribution. They can be found in the FCCP Open Resource Library.

To learn more about the Forest + Climate Visualization Partnership and see additional work samples visit the website:

Photo by American Forests
Photo by Daniel Cronan

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