Four Neshaminy High School students traveled to Harrisburg January 8 with Environmental Science teacher Brian Suter to present their concept for a spotted lanternfly educational mobile app. The group won a Bucks County hackathon competition held at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit in Doylestown recently which earned them the trip to the state competition.
The goal of the app is to educate Pennsylvanians about the threat the spotted lanternfly poses to trees, landscaping and crops in the Commonwealth. The species, native to Asia, was accidentally introduced to the area in 2014 and has since spread to much of eastern Pennsylvania and southwestern New Jersey. Unlike the mostly benign stink bug, another invasive species, the lanternfly can quickly envelop and kill everything from grape vines to trees.
For the Bucks County competition, the four Environmental Science students created a concept and coded a ‘wireframe’ of the app to demonstrate what they hoped to accomplish. It includes games for children (including a cartoon character, Charlie), maps of affected areas in the users vicinity, ways to report sightings, and information on how to remove the bug. If they are successful at the state level, they will have the opportunity to complete development and introduce it to the public.