Songbird Symphony. Recorded in Land Between the Lakes, KY. © Lang Elliott.
Scanning the navigation bar on our website, you will notice a variety of content categories. Although we are still in the process of choosing and implementing our first projects, the following summary of content categories will help you gain an appreciation of our overall plan.
1. “NatureWatch Video Vignettes
NatureWatch Video Vignettes are video-based multimedia celebrations that inspire a sense of wonder and encourage the viewer to make a visceral, heartfelt connection to the natural world.
Aimed at nature enthusiasts of all ages, most vignettes will feature high quality cinematography and/or photos coupled with a brief but informative essay, and will focus on particular animals or plants or other nature themes. Whenever possible, NatureWatch vignettes will be presented with a light-hearted, non-technical style, making them acceptable to the widest-possible audience.
We believe that our NatureWatch collection of videos will become the most popular category of content on our website. Ultimately, we will publish and maintain a browsable library of hundreds (eventually thousands) of titles.
2. Guides & Interactives — Educational Projects
Aimed at beginner naturalists and other nature enthusiasts, our reference-oriented, online nature study guides, interactives, and associated resources will have an educational emphasis. This content category will include the following:
• Nature Study Guides = guides to common animals and plants, arranged by group.
• How To Guides = beginner guides to nature photography, videography, sound recording, exploring pond life, the naturalist’s kit, field sketching, nature journalling, etc.
• Interactive Animations = animated nature-oriented multimedia learning experiences involving complex interactive elements.
• Life Cycle Project = basic life cycles of animals and plants depicted through modern multimedia interactives presentations.
3. Our Blog – A Palette of Possibilities
Our Blog is a true team effort, providing a relaxed and personalized counterpoint to our structured Nature Study projects. Featuring high definition video footage, sound recordings, photographs, and engaging stories, it will cover an endless variety of subjects.
This is our “play area,” where almost anything goes. We are free to philosophize, poetize, be funny or serious, whatever suits our fancy. This is also where we keep you abreast of our field excursions and inform you about our “behind the scenes” work. Although informal and wide-ranging, our blog is quite well-organized, a unique archive of searchable natural history content.
4. More Stuff – Other Content Categories
We plan to feature a variety of additional content categories, including products to help in fundraising:
• Pure Nature Recordings – available as digital downloads or CDs, with a substantial portion of income going to our non-profit.
• Nature + Music Mixes – a partnership with local musicians to create a CD (or a series of CDs) that feature music mixed with ambient nature recordings; a portion of profits will go to our non-profit.
• Kid’s Corner – multimedia creations aimed specifically at young children
• Video Interviews – interviews with prominent naturalists, nature poets, etc., concerning their personal connection with nature.
• Essays – featuring relevant essays by Lang Elliott (our director) and others.
• Book Reviews – a special section where new natural history (and related) titles are reviewed.
• Nature Study Resources – links to other websites and blogs that share our vision.
5. Video Archives – Easy Access to Video Library
High definition videos will be scattered throughout our website, in Vignettes, in blog posts, and as part of nature guides and other projects. Our Video Archives will display our videos as a browsable multi-page thumbnail library, organized by topic.
6. On the Ground – Working Locally with Children and Adults
Once we have established a robust online presence, we will undertake partnering with local institutions to develop and implement nature-immersion experiences for children and adults alike. Luckily, we are located in Ithaca, New York, the home of Cornell University and Ithaca College. Furthermore, we have a large community of expert naturalists from which to draw ideas and expertise. Our first projects will involve after school programs and integration into other related outdoor activities. As a result of our on-the-ground efforts, we hope to develop and publish materials that will be useful to adults (both parents and teachers) wanting to explore the natural world with their children.
7. Social Media – Getting the Word Out
Upon our official launch in winter/spring of 2014, we will activate our “Miracle of Nature” Facebook Page and maintain a robust presence there by mirroring content that appears on our website. Our Facebook page will provide community engagement and will help drive traffic to our website. We also plan to establish a presence on Google Plus, utilizing that platform in conjunction with YouTube to bring attention to our online effort.