Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tech Savvy-ing Nature

Yesterday, in Washington DC, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) introduced a new mobile phone application called the National Park Field Guide. It would be providing a complete and holistic view of the wildlife and review of 50 national parks in Washington. This app would be available free to IPhone, IPad and IPod Touch users.

The app would be giving complete details and lists of animals and plants found in each national park(like Yellowstone,Grand Canyon, Yosemite national parks), the endangered and threatened species, poisonous plants, how and when to get there,ticket costs and also pictures, sounds and video recordings of those animals and plants.

 What an innovative idea, I must say! It is a wonderful way to spread awareness about the beauty and the importance of nature and its conservation among people.As more and more people get increasingly addicted to technology and I Phones and consequently the apps that come along with it, the users would be bound to get curious about this 'natural' one. It has the potential of being a powerful stimulus in making people sensitized to wildlife and plantlife causes and taking action to protect their flora and fauna heritage.

 “We are pleased to offer this innovative and informative mobile field guide free of charge to national park visitors,” stated Megan Cantrell, NPCA Senior Coordinator of Member Engagement. “The new guide will enhance the experience of park visitors by providing a fun, educational companion for families and nature-lovers to learn about the many natural treasures that parks have to offer.”
“With more than 300 million national parks visitors annually, our new field guide will help engage and educate a new generation of advocates for our national parks,” said Cantrell. “The more people who understand that our national parks are America’s legacy to our children and in urgent need of care and repair, the better chance we have at protecting them for the future.”
However, this is not the first time that technology is being used on such a large scale to promote an environmental cause. Last year, in October, the National Park Service tied up with the UCLA Center for Embedded Network Sensing that designed an I-Phone application for a unique cause in Santa Monica. Its objective was to identify the location of invasive weeds  that threatened the native animal and plant species in the Santa Monica Mountains region and then to remove those weeds.

Many often complain that technology is drifting us away from nature. The above cases show that
  technology is also capable of bringing us closer to nature and play a key role in protecting plant and animal species.Blending a relevant cause(of protecting nature) with a modern and popular trend(the smartphones), could be an excellent way of making the cause popular, hence help to attract sensitivity towards the cause. It all depends on how we tap technology's potential.


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