NatureAtlas in the future (69 of 118 respondents, Question 8) and
that the project made them more likely to notice plants when outdoors (117 of 118 respondents, Question 9).
Although getting students outdoors to observe and identify species are
still important components of natural history education, course curricula
in this regard appear to be lagging behind 21st-century advances in infor-
matics technologies and concepts. For nearly two decades, the World
Wide Web, along with geolocation tools and software, has facilitated insti-
tutional efforts to digitize and provide global access to museum and her-
barium specimen records accrued largely by professional biologists over
the last two centuries. Such efforts were conceived on the basis that the
greatly increased accessibility of data via the Web would in turn fuel
efforts to better study, manage, and conserve biodiversity.
Table 4. Continued
Species Vernacular New State New County State Status
16. Pyrus calleryana Callery pear Lancaster (PA)1,2,3 Invasive
17. Rhodotypos scandens jetbead Lancaster (PA)1,2,3 Invasive
18. Senecio vulgaris common groundsel Lancaster (PA)1,2,3
19. Taxus baccata English yew Lancaster (PA)1,2,3
20. Viburnum dilatatum Linden arrowwood Lancaster (PA)1,2,3 Watch List
*Eleven (55%) of the exotic species are species listed as Invasive, Noxious, or Watch List species ( i.e., potentially invasive) by the Pennsylvania Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources ( http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/). State abbreviations are PA for Pennsylvania and MD for Maryland, USA. New state or county
records were assessed based on the Pennsylvania Flora Project ( www.paflora.org, denoted by the superscript 1 following the state or county), the Biota of North
America Program ( www.bonap.org, denoted by the superscript 2), or the United States Department of Agriculture’s PLANTS database ( http://plants.usda.gov/,
denoted by the superscript 3). Phyllostachys aureosulcata, for example, had been listed for Pennsylvania by the Biota of North America Program (source 2) but had
not been listed for the state by the Pennsylvania Flora Project (source 1) or the USDA (source 3); thus, it is denoted as a new state record by the abbreviation PA1,3.
Table 5. Anonymous, post-project student survey results.*
Number of Responses by Score
1. I found this project enjoyable. 0 2 17 64.5 37.5 4
2. I learned about our local flora on this
1 1 2 50 67 5
3. I learned about the geography of the
Millersville region from this project.
1 19 30.5 47.5 23 4
4. The digital NatureAtlas.org component of
this project made the project more
1 5 32.5 59.5 22 4
5. The tools at/of NatureAtlas.org made it
easier to learn about the local flora.
1 4 31 60 25 4
6. The tools at/of NatureAtlas.org made it
easier to learn about the local geography.
1 11 34 45 29 4
7. I found the NatureAtlas.org website to be
easy to use.
1 3 11 56 49 4
8. I will probably use NatureAtlas.org in the
5 10 34 51 18 4
9. After this project, I am more likely to notice
plants when I am outdoors.
0 1 0 24 93 5
*This survey of nine questions was voluntarily completed as described in Materials and Methods by 121 of the total of 155 students over the seven course offerings
between 2010 and 2015. 34 students chose not to participate or were absent in class on the day that the survey was given. Scoring options for each question were
1 (strongly disagree), 2 (disagree), 3 (neutral), 4 (agree), and 5 (strongly agree). Each student was instructed to select only one number for each question, and the raw
numbers of responses for each response category are indicated. All 121 students responded to most questions; however, a few students did not respond to some
questions, for reasons unknown. Thus, the raw counts for some of the questions sum to less than 121. Half-counts (“.5”) were recorded when a student circled two
options rather than one; for example, when a student circled both “Agree” and “Strongly Agree,” a count of 0.5 rather than 1 was assigned to each of those categories.