Kids are curious creatures. They love to learn, explore and discover new things, and when it comes to nature and wildlife, the young are captivated by the unknown. Nature walks used to mean lugging around reference materials listing thousands of species from aardvarks to zebra spiders. Today, wireless technology lets student scientists and researchers connect, document and learn about nature in real time, directly from their mobile devices.
To fuel this curiosity, National Geographic and the National Park Service are hosting the eighth annual BioBlitz, a 24-hour inventory where students, teachers and scientists identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi and other organisms as possible. This weekend, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and its 80,000 acres of rich biodiversity with 1,200 plant and animal species is home to the BioBlitz, and participants will stay connected wirelessly as they scour the park’s ecosystems.
Today’s youth are adept at using mobile devices for a variety of things, so using technology to learn about nature, science and foster environmental stewardship is fitting. This year, many of the BioBlitzers will connect with nature in real time and use smartphones and tablets to record and share their findings, demonstrating the true value of mobile learning.
Verizon Wireless is sponsoring the event via a $75,000 grant that supports the educational programs at BioBlitz. Additionally, the company is partnering with the National Park Service, National Geographic, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and Presidio Trust to power BioBlitz with enhanced 4G LTE coverage and capacity throughout the parks. Verizon Wireless COW (Cell on Wheels) and RAT (Repeater and Trailer) units have been temporarily installed in Muir Woods, Crissy Field, Muir Beach Overlook and Marin Headlands to enhance wireless coverage.
Verizon Wireless’ ongoing support for BioBlitz and other educational programs is part of the company’s focus on increasing student interest and achievement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects and using mobile technology in and outside of the classroom.
For live updates during BioBlitz 2014, follow @VZWheidi on Twitter.