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Go for a Nature Walk with QR Codes

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QR codes are showing us another way to use technology in our quest for more nature lovin’. These two-dimensional matrix bar codes now offer parks across the United States a less costly way to provide kids – especially tech savvy ones – with information about things related to the environment.

The iNature Trail leads the way.

Rangers and the refuge friends’ organization at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel Island, Florida, have designed the iNature Trail along Wildlife Drive with two sets of codes that both make the experience more educational, a lot more fun, and very convenient. One set of codes target kids and lead to fun, interactive videos on YouTube. The other set is geared towards adults and lead to videos that are more informative in nature.

One of the child-oriented codes, for instance, shows kids how they could flap their arms just like an osprey. And one of the adult codes show grown-ups how they can resemble or mimic a mangrove tree using their bodies.

The QR codes are found to be a hit with both kids and grown-ups.

Birgie Vertesch, executive director of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, attributes the success of campaign to “the energy and expertise of volunteers for the knowledge of QR technology, professional film and editing skills, and acting.”

While admission to the refuge’s Wildlife Drive is $1 per hiker or cyclist and $5 per vehicle, the QR code tour is free after that.

According to supervisory refuge ranger Toni Westland, they just wanted to make the activity fun for the kids as they are the ones the group wants to take on a tour as well as the ones who are more hooked on their mobile phones.

Plus, with QR codes aiding nature walkers, one no longer has to wait for a naturalist or a ranger to explain the trail and give a little talk about the animals.

QR Codes on Aquariums

Thea Miller Ryan, who is the director of the Outdoor Campus at Sioux Falls in South Dakota, started using QR code technology almost two years ago by putting on printed QR codes to the facility’s Nature Center aquariums. The codes resolve to specific Web pages on the Northern State University site identifying and providing information on the animals inside the facility’s eight aquariums. These animals include the fox snake, American toad, tiger salamander, and garter snake.

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