From couch to classroom to campfire:
New South Wales (NSW) National Parks and Wildlife Service
That every child in NSW under 12 has a positive experience in a National Park.
Children in NSW are spending increasing amounts of time on screens and indoors and less time active, outdoors and engaging with the natural world.
Parents and teachers influence how children spend their time and may lack awareness of local nature and the benefits of nature-time for children.
Use technology to inspire positive engagement with National Parks.
WilderQuest has been successful in bringing NSW national parks into homes and classrooms and bringing people into parks by using an integrated online-offline approach with gaming applications, events, and tours.
To move children from couch to campsite and create awareness with teachers and parents, we needed to build accessible experience(s) which could be motivating enough to lead to a national park visit.
To make a national park visit an easy and attractive option for teachers and parents we developed:
- An iPad app and games for children that combine accurate, virtual environments and Australian species. https://wilderquest.nsw.gov.au/app/
- A teacher portal linked to curriculum and outdoor activities that fosters interest in natural sciences and promotes STEM learning and Aboriginal culture subjects. https://wilderquest.nsw.gov.au/#/learning
- New WilderQuest branded tours and school excursions in national parks use nature-play principles and link back to the digital experience to reinforce and reward learning. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/education-services/wilderquest-excursions http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/wilderquest/wilderquest-tours
The WilderQuest program has won 11 industry awards and currently has a database of over 22,540 registrations and over 170,100 downloads of the app.
The WilderQuest Learning teacher portal is approaching 18 months old and proving to be popular with over 1100 teachers and 900 schools registered. It encourages teaching science outdoors and prescribes a national park excursion.
- National parks in NSW saw an increase in child visits between 2012-14 of 8.5%
- In actively engaging with children and their carers on the channels they use and inviting them to contribute to open biodiversity datasets and service information, we create opportunities for collaboration in the future of national park preservation.
- Early incorporation of market research, prototyping and iterative testing of the concept with children, parents and teachers helped define design direction.
- Working with experts in fields of design, user experience, science and education improved the quality and educational value of the resources which extended the longevity of their use.
- Our innovations contributed to winning awards, which helped to promote awareness.