Lindsay Wildlife Museum and Saint Mary’s College is previewing LWM Encounters -- a new free mobile app for iPhones that allows Bay Area residents to learn about local wildlife and share photos and experiences via social media.
A preview of the app takes place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday -- May 31 -- at the Wildlife Museum at 1931 First Ave. in Walnut Creek, and is open to the public.
The LWM and Saint Mary's partnership was funded by a grant from the Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities and its Informal Science Education initiative, which aims to make science accessible to the public.
The LWM Encounters app teaches area residents to 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.
Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Weiwei Pan, who directed the student team that developed 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, who directed the student team.
The LWM Encounters app development team, which worked on the project for about a year, includes seniors Marcos Avalos (Boonville), Elliott Battle (Antioch), Anthony Braddick (Quincy), John Spalluzzi (Elk Grove) and junior Kathy Duran (Martinez).
A video about their efforts can be seen with this story or online at http://youtu.be/nTY5rmpB3eI
“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.