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Out of Thin Air: Using Scent to Talk about Forest Succession and Atmospheric Science

Research Open House 2020

Jean Brennan
Alison Chen, MS Package Design ’20
Shiao Ann Chang, MS Package Design ’20
School of Design, Graduate Communications Design
Seed Grantee 2019-2020

Forests pre-logging smelled different from today’s forests, and that smell is ever-changing as forest succession and climate change march on. This research uses essential oils from fragrant plant species to map forest succession in Prospect Park, Brooklyn—from old-growth to current and future scenarios. Out of Thin Air is a sensory teaching tool to talk about the delicate complexity of our forests in a warming climate and was developed in conversation with faculty at the University of Michigan Biological Station.