Species Explorer's goals include educational, cultural, as well as scientific elements, all based on the idea that knowledge of local species provides a key to reconnecting society and the natural world.
|To raise awareness in the general public about the species of plants and animals in their local environment
In Richard Louv's 2006 book Last Child in the Woods, he quotes a study that shows more children can identify the characters of Pokemon than species in their own backyards, even something as common as a beetle! When a society is more familiar with the imaginary than reality, we have a basic problem of experience.
|To encourage the level of “citizen science” in the general public
The present age of environmental awareness necessitates that every citizen take an increased share of personal responsibility for making positive steps to reduce our "eco-footprint." In order to make meaningful steps in this area, each person needs to raise their basic knowledge of the natural science in their everyday lives, to become a "citizen scientist."
|To provide a platform for parent-child learning
The Species Explorer mobile application gives parents and children a context for exploration, discussion, and learning within their local environment. Similar to the popularity of "geocaching" and "letterboxing," which use handheld GPS units to encourage outdoor exploration, Species Explorer will provide a fun, active, and rich activity for families. In an age where portable video games often only distance and isolate children from their parents, Species Explorer can use technology to reconnect parents and their children.
|To use mobile technology to create a standard tool for collecting species observation data
Until recently, creating a "field tool" for collecting species data would require special, custom hardware. With the development and popularity of new "smartphones," the average person will be able to use their existing mobile device to participate in Species Explorer.
|To build a global, self-sustaining community of “species explorers ”
Using both the online Species Explorer web site, as well as offline forums and group events, our goal is to encourage a community of citizen scientists who organize and review their individual observations, then share and discuss those observations with others.
| To provide a platform for informal science education for people of all ages
The highly structured curriculum for science education at the secondary school level gives children a strong foundation. However, there is much room for less structured, "informal" science education that can be provided by programs like Species Explorer. And this education does not have to be limited to the schools, but can be used by people of all ages interested in their outdoor "bioregion."
|To enable non-scientists to contribute to the scientific knowledgebase of global species populations
Global databases of species populations have been gathering data from academic, scientific and other official source for many years. With the proliferation of the internet, the process for submitting this data has become more accessible to non-scientific organizations. Our goal is to connect the Species Explorer Database into these global databases to help build their knowledgebase.