The following is a guest blog by Debbie Denard:
Who says technology and nature can’t go hand in hand? Next time you’re out walking in nature, enhance your experience with a few of these nifty iPhone apps. There are apps available to help you find nature, navigate through it and learn more about it during your excursions. These apps may make the trek more appealing for young hikers as well!
• My Nature Animal Tracks – Ever run across mysterious tracks on your nature adventures? Discover which animal left them by using this informative application. Not only will My Nature Animal Tracks help you identify the animal, there are all sorts of other cool features as well, such as showing you where the animal can be found in North America, sound files of each creature’s vocalizations, a nature journal and more.
• SkyView Free - Take along SkyView on your next evening stroll. Use your iPhone to take a photo of the sky, then tap on it to find out more about what you are looking at. This takes the guess work out of stargazing, so you will never again find yourself wondering if that group of stars is the Big Dipper or if that bright spot is Venus. Change the date to see what the sky looked like long ago, or what it will look like in the future. Share your celestial pictures with friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
• Rockhound - Let Rockhound know where you are, and it will tell you what rocks, gems, and minerals you may discover there. There are pictures of each rock to help you identify what you find. You can also track which stones are found at each site by posting pictures and making notes.
• iBird - A must have for any avid bird watcher, iBird allows you to have more time to observe the birds because it eliminates the need to thumb through various books to identify them. This app has over 900 species in its ever-growing database, easy to use search features and five hours of audio songs and calls, plus you can store your bird photos and share them via social networks. This app also has maps, information on habitats and behaviors and much more.
• NatureFind - If you want to get out in nature but you don’t know where to go, NatureFind is the perfect solution. This app will help you find nature centers, gardens, zoos, museums and so much more. It also keeps you informed on upcoming events at these venues.
• Arbor Day Tree Identification Guide: What Tree is That?- This is a mobile version of the Arbor Day Foundation’s award winning field guide. Identify trees easily, learn about them and keep track of the ones you have identified on interactive maps. Share your findings on Twitter!
• Audubon Insects and Spiders: A Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders - This app received the Parent Tested Parent Approved Award in 2010. The field guide contains over 500 in depth-descriptions and photos of insects and spiders. There is a journal section to make notes and track your findings that you can share with friends. It also has a reference section that can give you tips on finding insects, show you diagrams of their bodies and explain how to start your own collection.
• Leafsnap - Leafsnap is a field guide that uses visual recognition software to identify tree species from photos of their leaves. This app contains some very beautiful high resolution photos of trees, flowers, leaves and berries. After you snap a leaf photo, the information about where this tree is located is sent to Leaf Snap’s database so that scientists can track how the numbers and ranges of trees are changing over time. So, using this app allows the average citizen to further science.
Author Bio: Debbie Denard, content manager for Nanny.net. You can check her most recent articles here. Get in touch with Debbie at “debbiedenard(AT)gmail(DOT)com”
Hiking in the Smokies