Recreation and environmental education are coming together near the Canadian Tire Centre in westend Ottawa: beautiful paths now wind along and over the newly restored stretch of the Carp River and its wetlands along Terry Fox Drive. This once degraded section of the river has been restored by the City of Ottawa, developers, and the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) as part of the area’s development. The pathways now provide a perfect opportunity to highlight the value of this wetland park ecosystem to visitors through interpretive panels as well as by using new smart phone technology.
OSC is working with MVCA and Friends of the Carp River to support development of a wetland education program at the Carp River Conservation Area in Kanata. The Carp River Living Classroom will have many education elements, but one will be a mobile app called EcoTrekr, which is aimed at families and children in elementary/middle school.
Developed for MVCA by a group of programmers and GIS specialists who volunteered much of their time, EcoTrekr will help visitors understand and engage with what they see as they walk the paved trail encircling the site near the Canadian Tire Centre. The app features GIS-triggered pop-ups describing site features, an “encyclopedia” of entries on plants, wildlife, geographical features, and historical notes, and interactive quizzes at two challenge levels. In July 2019, the EcoTrekr development team ran a focus test on an early version of the app to gather feedback from users that will be used to improve the user experience.
EcoTrekr will be formally launched in Spring of 2021. It will be available for free download from the Google Play and Apple App Stores for use on GIS-enabled tablets and mobile phones.
Learn more about the Living Classroom at the Friends of the Carp River web site.
Learn more about the OSC-sponsored Carleton University projects at the site.