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RTPI’s “Nature at Your Fingertips” Cell Phone Tour Updated for Winter Season

Posted on Jan 7, 2016

Thanks to El Niño’s strong influence on the position of the Pacific jet stream, winter’s beginning has left much of the Western New York landscape more green than white. However, recent blasts of cold air moving across Lake Erie have begun to fuel the lake effect snows that typically blanket our area at this time of year. Outdoor enthusiasts eagerly await these conditions to facilitate their recreational activities, while local businesses anticipate the associated influx of seasonal patrons.

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) is excited for snowfall to bring outdoor recreationalists to the trails comprising their newly updated cell phone tour. In keeping with its “Celebrating Wild America,” campaign, the Jamestown-based natural history non-profit is working hard to connect residents and visitors to the natural world using novel programs and technology to highlight local areas of interest. The “Nature at Your Fingertips” Cell Phone Tour is an interactive experience used to deliver place-based information to the snowmobilers, skiers, hikers and snowshoers enjoying the many miles of trails that Chautauqua County has to offer. This year, the tour boasts a novel, state-of-the art interface, numerous new features, and several additional stops. These improvements were achieved through the collaborative efforts with the Snowmobile Clubs of Chautauqua County, Orbitist (a new company that specializes in creating interactive digital maps), and countless dedicated volunteers.

This year, the “Nature at Your Fingertips” tour includes a total of 30 blue signs, placed along the network of county recreational trails, which feature the signature RTPI image of a snowy owl. As in the past, these signs also include a phone number and associated stop number for cell phone users to dial in and listen to audio information specific to each location. Additional features include scannable QR codes and newly added short-links, both enabling smart phone users to access the cell phone tour webpage via their mobile browsers. There, users will be immersed in an interactive collection of site-specific content including audio and video clips, photographs, local business information, live Twitter feeds, web links, and more. The cell phone tour can be completed in a weekend, or explored in pieces over the course of the entire season. What’s more, the updated digital map system also includes all of the hiking and skiing trails in Chautauqua County, and all of the snowmobile trails for New York State, making it a comprehensive resource for local residents and anyone travelling throughout the region.

More information on the “Nature at Your Fingertips” cell-phone tour can be found by visiting the Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s winter trails page, http://rtpi.org/conservation/winter-trails-cell-phone-tour/, or by going to Orbitist’s website www.orbitist.com.

Nature at Your Fingertips Cell Phone Tour-Orbitist Screenshot