I had a great conversation this morning with visual artist Paul Turano about his latest project, “Wonder, Wander, Wilderness”, a film, website and mobile application installation that uses interactive technology to encourage people to engage with nature by exploring the urban green spaces of greater Boston.   Inspired by the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv, which explores the psychological effects of city dwellers being deprived of green spaces, Paul wanted to create something that would encourage people living in urban settings to get out and connect with nature.   His project includes the creation of a free mobile application (to be released this summer) that sends users by weekly prompts to explore specific urban green spaces.  The application includes directions to the outdoor site, and encourages users to put their mobile device away, interact with the environment, and then record the experience after the fact with pictures, sound recordings, and or text.    Upon hearing this aspect, I liked it to the application My Fitness Pal, which does much the same thing for exercise as his application does for nature.  People can share their experiences, and thus motivate others to do the same.  He liked the analogy, and he is looking forward to discussions with educators on the possible ways his mobile app could be used as a location based educational tool, allowing instructors to create learning modules for students to explore the ecology of a specific site.  If you attend his session at the Symposium, in addition to getting to see first hand what the mobile application can do, Paul will also show excerpts from the Film portion of his installation, which premiered at the ICA  (Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston) this past September.  The website portion of his project includes a community gallery of peoples experiences in urban greenspaces.  You can find out more about his project at his website http://www.wanderurbanwilds.com/

Author: Sandy Keldsen, the Center for Team Learning at Boston University Questrom School of Business