Recreation and environmental education come together at the Carp River Conservation Area near the Canadian Tire Centre in west end Ottawa. A beautiful pathway now winds along and over the newly restored stretch of the Carp River and its wetlands along Terry Fox Drive in Kanata.
The City of Ottawa, developers, and the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) restored this once degraded section of the river to provide wildlife habitat and green infrastructure. The restored “ribbon of life” provides ecosystem services for the high density residential and commercial development: stormwater management, flood and drought mitigation, carbon sequestration, and improved water quality.
We are working with Friends of the Carp River and MVCA to develop a wetland education program at the Conservation Area called the Carp River Living Classroom. The Living Classroom has existing education elements like interpretive panels and citizen science projects, and planned elements like an osprey nest tower and learning nodes that complement school board curricula. It also has an interactive and educational smart phone app called EcoTrekr.
EcoTrekr – a gamified mobile app for learning.
EcoTrekr is a free mobile app that helps visitors understand and engage with what they see as they walk the pathway encircling the site.
Developed for MVCA by educators, programmers, and GIS specialists who volunteered much of their time, information is written and presented for families with children in elementary and middle school.
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.
EcoTrekr can be downloaded for free from the Google Play and Apple App Stores for use on GIS-enabled tablets and mobile phones. Learn more at the Carp River Conservation Area (MVCA).
Learn more about the Living Classroom at the Friends of the Carp River.
Learn more about the OSC-sponsored Carleton University projects at the site.