Visitors have a new way to explore the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge with the introduction of the Discover Nature App, a mobile tour guide and scavenger-hunt-style trivia game. The debut comes with many firsts, including Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge being the first refuge in the Midwest to offer the app, and the first in the nation to offer Discover Nature in three languages: English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
The Discover Nature App guides visitors as they explore three units of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Bloomington, Rapids Lake and Louisville Swamp. The app identifies points of interest through virtual signs and provides information about the refuge’s diverse wildlife, habitat and history. There is also a family-friendly nature trivia game to play while at the refuge. Interactive features allow users to upload and share their own sightings and photos of refuge wildlife and habitat and see what users sighted at other national wildlife refuges across America.
Ed Crozier, retired from a career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and now serving on the Minnesota Valley Trust board of directors, promoted the development of the app for the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
“The Discover Nature App uses technology to connect people with this amazing nature sanctuary right here in the Twin Cities — the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge,” said Crozier. “We expect the app will encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to get out, explore the refuge trails, and discover its habitat and wildlife. It makes the refuge more accessible to everyone.”
Minnesota Valley Trust partnered with Discover Nature Apps on the development of the virtual tour guide and game apps. Based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Discover Nature Apps has also created apps with other refuges throughout the country — including J.N. “Ding” Darling in Sanibel, Florida, Okefenokee in Georgia and the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge in California. These refuges’ modules and many more are available for download, too.