Tuesday, March 10, 2009

iPod Technology

"Welcome to the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest!...This is your first time here? Great!...Yes, indeed. The Prothonotary Warblers are exceptional-looking birds!...No, they have not yet migrated back here to Four Holes Swamp. In fact, we're anxiously awaiting their return as we will begin banding the birds for Project PROTHO. We hope to learn a great deal about Prothonotary Warblers in an old-growth setting...No, last night's cold snap sent all the reptiles back into their winter shelter. They'll be out on a regular basis once the weather remains consistently warm...You're only in the area today?...I know, that is terrible luck, but the 1000-year-old trees are still here!"

The conversation you have just read was a dramatization, but similar conversations are an annual occurrence for the staff at Beidler Forest. What can be done to take some of the sting out of such situations? We cannot control the weather or bird migrations or the appearance of wildflowers. However, as we are here year-round, we can capture audio, video or still images of the swamp at any moment. We've tried to make as much of that as possible available on our webpage, but that is not accessible to the visitor on the boardwalk or students in an Internet-free classroom. Therefore, we are working to make this content available to users of devices such as iPods, iPhones, and PDAs.

We are applying for a grant through the South Carolina Geographic Alliance to purchase a few units in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the program. Even those individuals that do not use iPod-like devices will benefit as anything we produce will be uploaded to our webpage.
Keep watching this blog, our webpage, or Facebook's "I Love Francis Beidler Forest" group for details as this program progresses! In the meantime, we would appreciate sharing any experiences you may have related to using the technology in the manner described in this entry.
Image by Mark Musselman

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