Explore Wildlife Around you with WildObs

August 9, 2011

12:52 pm

I frequently see red foxes in the part of Virginia where I live, even though it’s only about 15 miles outside of Washington, D.C. I even saw one at the Metro station early one morning! I think it’s important to note the animals share our home in a part of the country that is experiencing significant population growth.

If you’ve ever wondered what type of wildlife lives in your neighborhood, WildObs can help you find, track and share that information. WildObs (short for wildlife observations) is an app for iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android that captures memorable wildlife encounters for your own studies and exploration. You can maintain and grow your life-list of species sightings and share your experiences with your community.

With WildObs, you can photograph interesting wildlife and upload it to the app, noting the location and circumstances surrounding the encounter. Other users can comment on your photos, and you can browse the community’s uploads–WildObs is collaborative wildlife enjoyment.

WildObs participates in the National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Watch Program, which tracks wildlife sightings nationwide, as well as a number of other scientific studies to extract citizen science from recorded encounters.

I wonder how WildObs could be applied to national wildlife conservation efforts. Perhaps it could be used to track wolves that have been removed from the Endangered Species List in Idaho and Montana, or to track how the migratory patterns of mountain lions have been affected by new road construction in Colorado and California.

Whether you are a wildlife tracking enthusiast or simply enjoying sharing experiences with friends, you can check out WildObs for iPhone or Android. And, the next time I see a red fox, I’ll be sure to have my camera ready!

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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