Columbia trail uses app to bring technology to nature
COLUMBIA - The Audubon Society of Missouri (ASM) combined nature and technology with a new interactive bird sighting app.
ASM thought the app could help it better identify what birds live in the grassland trail. Hikers scan a QR code on the trail head of the grassland trail in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. After hikers scan the code, a list of birds pop up on the smart phone. Hikers record what they see and submit it to the e-bird data base.
Edge Wade, conservation partnership coordinator, said the app is for everyone, not just avid birdwatchers.
"It's a great activity for parents and kids. They can have this list and work with it off of their app and talk about what they're seeing," Wade said. "If they think they've got something but it's not on the checklist, it's probably not really here. Check again for something else," Wade laughed.
The dedication ceremony was on Sunday, and some attendees had trouble using the app in limited cell phone service. Despite the few setbacks, both the ASM and the Missouri Department of National Resources hope to expand the project to more parks in the future.
"This is an innovative thing. It's the first one in the state of Missouri. That's what's special about it. It's kind of experiential to see how people react to it, do they use it?" Wade said.
You can find the Grassland trail head about a half-mile from Devil's Ice Box.