LEE COUNTY, Fla., Aug. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- If you have a smartphone that downloads apps, you're ready to hit the trail at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on Sanibel Island and utilize its latest innovation, which officials recently unveiled.
To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/51155-j-n-ding-darling-national-wildlife-refuge-inature-trail
Designed to appeal to the next generation's techie side and get them outside, the Refuge iNature Trail along Wildlife Drive has two components – one for kids and one for adults.
The iNature Trail uses a set of QR (Quick Response) codes that smartphone-users can scan with free downloadable apps such as Neoscan or QR Scan. Similar in appearance to common bar codes, QR codes typically send scanners to websites for more information.
The refuge's iNature trail goes a step further and incorporates short, engaging YouTube videos, making it more interactive. For instance, one of the 22 QR codes along the iNature Trail takes you to a YouTube video of Refuge Manager Paul Tritaik welcoming guests to the refuge, while another shows families how to plant a mangrove tree.
The iNature signs will be easily recognizable along the Trail and can be accessed while walking, biking, or driving along Wildlife Drive.
"This is the first such interactive trail in the 550-plus national wildlife refuges," said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland. "We also believe this to be the first interactive QR wildlife trail in the nation."
"Talk about leading the way!" said Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau Deputy Director Woody Peek at opening ceremonies. "There's no better way than to be first. It speaks highly of the vision of this group, and we congratulate that."
"Currently nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and it is estimated that there will be more online visits from mobile devices than from PCs by 2014," said Westland. "Our refuge is moving into the mobile world to educate thousands of people about wildlife and its
protection in a whole new way."
"The iNature Trail is a significant advancement in nature interpretation," said Tritaik. "It not only takes advantage of the latest improvements in communication technology, but it is environmentally responsible because it allows us to reduce paper waste from brochures. We are very proud to introduce this exciting opportunity for our technologically savvy visitors to learn about and enjoy the wildlife at 'Ding' Darling."
Funds for the iNature Trail along Wildlife Drive were made possible by private contributions to the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS). As a non-profit, DDWS works to support "Ding" Darling NWR's mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop proceeds.
For vacation information about The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel to visit the iNature trail, access www.FortMyersSanibel.com or the Twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/FtMyersSanibel or become a fan of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel at www.Facebook.com/FtMyersSanibel.
SOURCE Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau