I recently came across an August edition of The Steward, a paper publication of the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. I enjoy hiking and checking out state parks, so I started perusing it. To my happy surprise I found two great examples of technology implementation. The first was the addition of Quick Response (QR) codes by the state parks system on all of their park brochures. When you scan the QR code with your smartphone you are directed to the park system’s website and specific information about that particular park. How cool is that? The article also mentioned the future possibilities of including QR codes on wayside exhibits and trail markers as well.
The second innovation I read about involved a service learning project completed by 20 students from UNC-Chapel Hill. As part of a creative writing project the students composed narratives of the history of Eno River State Park. They then made a recording of someone reading each narrative. Signs with a telephone number were posted in various areas of the park. Park visitors can call the number on their cell phones to hear a short audio tour. The recordings were funded with a UNC Service Learning grant and will serve as a pilot study to test feasibility and usage, with the possibility of recordings at other state parks.
This paper (ironic isn’t it?) publication is only sixteen pages long, yet contains two articles on practical and helpful uses of technology. Plus, I love the fact that it is the Division of Parks and Recreation that is embracing new tech. Nature and Technology can coexist and complement each other. Imagine that. I’m loving my new home state!