Lindsay Wildlife Museum (LWM) and Saint Mary’s College of California will preview LWM Encounters, a new free mobile app for the iPhone that allows Bay Area residents to learn about local wildlife and share wildlife photos and experiences via social media. The preview takes place from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 31, 2014 at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, 1931 First Avenue, Walnut Creek, CA 94597.
The LWM and Saint Mary's partnership and resulting mobile app were made possible by a grant from the Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities and its Informal Science Education (SENCER-ISE) initiative, which aims to make science accessible to the public.
The LWM Encounters app teaches San Francisco Bay Area residents to become more knowledgeable about local wildlife and their habitats to encourage appreciation for the natural world. Features include a field guide of local wildlife, tips on what to do when encountering wildlife, ways to share photos and experiences via social media and how to connect with, and support, the educational programs and services offered by the museum.
The goal of the partnership was to provide a real-world opportunity for Saint Mary's science students to learn and develop programming code for a mobile app that furthers the mission of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, which is to boost awareness of Bay Area wildlife and the museum with local residents.
Lindsay Wildlife Museum and Saint Mary’s will host an App Preview Day from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 31, 2014 at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, 1931 First Avenue, Walnut Creek, CA 94597. The public is invited to learn about the partnership, development process and features of the new app.
Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Weiwei Pan, who served as the project manager and a developer on the Saint Mary's team that created the app, said the project reflects the College’s mission of service through the lens of science. "Saint Mary’s encourages students and faculty to help enrich communities around the Bay Area through academic programs that include civic engagement. The LWM Encounters app is part of that effort," said Pan.
The LWM Encounters app development team includes seniors Marcos Avalos (Boonville), Elliott Battle (Antioch), Anthony Braddick (Quincy) and juniors Katy Duran (Martinez) and John Spalluzzi (Elk Grove). The group worked on the project for almost a year and was very pleased and enthusiastic about how the app turned out. A brief video about their efforts can be seen online at http://youtu.be/GNzT8KhQtIw.
“This has been a very rewarding experience for me, both professionally and personally,” said Michele Setter, director of animal encounters and interim wildlife rehabilitation director at the museum. “I am proud of the work done by the students––they really listened to their client, were very engaged in the project, and were a pleasure to work with. We hope users will find this a useful and engaging tool to learn about the wild animal neighbors in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
The LWM Encounters app is expected to be available for free download by searching “LWM Encounters” in the iTunes Store in mid-June. For more information visit wildlife-museum.org.