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Planet Guardians: Rainforest Connections Launch Event

Global NGO Rainforest Connection and its founder Topher White will lead students from six different Los Angeles STEM Science Schools in a program called “Planet Guardians” to build solar-powered listening devices that will help protect the world’s rainforests. Google will be participating with a film and providing technology for students to communicate with indigenous tribes in Brazil.

Beginning March 21st and continuing until Earth Day 2018, hundreds of students from Los Angeles STEM science programs will participate in one of the largest student-driven programs ever launched to protect the world’s rainforests.

The “Planet Guardians” program, developed by the global NGO Rainforest Connection (RFCx) and its founder, Topher White, will teach some of LA’s leading STEM middle schools how to build “Guardian” devices. These devices, constructed by students from old, upcycled smartphones which are transformed into solar-powered listening tools through Google’s open source machine learning framework, TensorFlow. They will then be installed high in trees of the world’s most fragile rainforests, capturing any sounds of illegal logging and alerting forest rangers in real time.

Guardians built in March 2018 by LA students will be installed in April in Peru, Brazil, and Indonesia and are expected to protect nearly 100,000 acres through the year 2020. They will be activated on Earth Day 2018 and are expected to protect nearly 100,000 acres through the year 2020.

In partnership with Google, students during the workshops will watch a new film by Google, “Beneath the Canopy,” about RFCx’s work with the Tembé indigenous tribe in Brazil. Following the film, students participate in live Google Hangouts with Tembé tribal rangers, before building Guardian devices that will be sent to the Tembé to help protect their lands.

About the Event:

At our Earth Day Planet Guardians event we will be officially turning on these student-built Guardian devices so that their live audio streams will begin broadcasting on RFCx's free mobile app, accessible anywhere in the world.  We will connect with via a live Google Hangout with our team in the rainforest of Brazil from the stage.  Students in the auditorium will download the app, and the sounds of the rainforest will stream live on everyone's mobile app.  We will set off an actual chainsaw in the forest, and the students will be able to experience the chainsaw sound, as detected by the Guardians they built via Google's powerful artificial intelligence back-end technology used by RFCx's mobile app, TenserFlow.   Within a matter of moments, each student's phone will ring in the auditorium with a text alert notifying them that their Guardian has detected the sounds of a chainsaw, which is a sign of illegal logging.  


Sunday, Earth Day, April 22

L.A. Zoo’s Witherbee Auditorium

533 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027

12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m.  

Earlier Event: April 22
Wild for the Planet @ LA Zoo