Smartphone-Enhanced Outdoor Classroom

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Multigenerational scout outing to identify plants and botanize on the causeway

Now that the new playground and causeway repair are nearly completed, FoSG will focus on conservation of Salter Grove by increasing its educational value.

After hundreds of hours of fieldwork and data analysis, we are well along with the identification of birds (116 species) and flowering plants (114 species), and know when and where they appear in the park. We have also mapped out several nature trails to showcase the variety of habitats at Salter Grove.

People who visit the park regularly are excited about the labeled plants resulting from the fieldwork and are amazed when shown how to use their smartphones on site to get images and songs of breeding birds.

Scarlet Tanager photographed at Salter Grove by Jason Major.

It is logical to exploit the latest technology to help visitors to fully appreciate Salter Grove and create an educational opportunity for all. We want to create a website that provides easy access to natural history information for the park and that will be navigable and listenable on a smartphone, like the audio devices at a museum.

Users will learn about different habitats and the impact of introduced species and human activities. Movable observation posts linked to specific web content will track seasonal and ecological changes. Visitors will be invited to upload their observations and add to the data base. Our use of technology will minimize signage in the natural setting and yet provide a great wealth of information.

The integrated nature trail and website will encourage families to learn together and support environmental conservation. The availability of labeled plants in the field and a website with ecological information, suggested field projects, and thought-provoking questions will make it easier for teachers to take students outdoors to experience the local environment. We will, however, continue to offer guided field trips to interested schools.

If you would like to support this project, please visit FoSG’s Donation page.

For more information see this article in the Warwick Beacon.

One thought on “Smartphone-Enhanced Outdoor Classroom

  1. Pingback: A Beautiful Day for a Beautiful Event! | Friends of Salter Grove

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