Discover Nature Apps

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Ushering in an era of digital engagement and fun for the millions of smartdevice-carrying visitors to Oregon’s spectacular coast, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with its Friends Groups, has launched three interactive, place-based game apps.

The interactive apps teach visitors about the diverse seabirds, marine mammals, rocky shore habitats and creatures that make the Oregon Coast such a vibrant and wondrous ecological system.  
Developed by Discover Nature Apps, an award winning mission-driven app developer, the “Discover Coquille”, "Discover Haystack", and "Discover Yaquina" games include a GPS-guided nature-based scavenger hunt; the ability for users to post and view field tips and photographs; and the opportunity to share their experiences on social media. The apps are free; simply search for “Discover Nature Apps” on iTunes or Google Play Store.
To play the games, users must be at the respective location. People visiting as a group can compete against one another, or families can opt to work as a team. Beyond the game, the app offers opportunities for users to capture photos of their discoveries including sightings such as where they are seeing Tufted Puffins or Ochre Sea Stars. The discoveries, notes and photos are viewable in a digital photo gallery that will be accessible worldwide. This YouTube video demonstrates the features and functionalities of the Discover Nature App platform.
“With this app, we can reach exponentially more coastal visitors and residents with a fun and interactive experience that leaves them with a greater awareness and appreciation of Oregon Coast’s seabirds and their habitats,” said Dawn Harris, Visitor Services Manager for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex. “Until now, we’ve been limited in the ways we can deliver the information we know they’ll value in a way that’s both compelling and entertaining.”
“There’s nothing like this on the Oregon Coast, and it will serve as a powerful tool for us to engage the public and enlist their support for marine conservation,” said Harv Schubothe, President of Shoreline Education for Awareness. “While nothing beats a personal interpreter, this app fills a vital gap giving people of all ages another avenue to learning through technology.”

Funding for these apps came from a special fund created to benefit seabird species that suffered in the aftermath of the New Carissa oil spill near Coos Bay, Oregon, in February 1999. The freighter ran aground, broke apart and spilled between 70,000 and 140,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil, killing an estimated 2,465 seabirds and waterfowl along the coast.