Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nature Watching in 2013

What does the new year have in store for NZBRN and NatureWatch NZ? Quite a lot. I'm glad you asked. I think you'll be excited by some of the new things on the way.

Back to school
We're keen to make NatureWatch NZ a useful resource for schools. Imagine if New Zealand's school grounds became a network of nature watching hotspots! This year, we will be trialling NatureWatch NZ in a selection of Canterbury and Westland schools, thanks to funding from the Brian Mason Trust. We are considering a few tweaks to the way NatureWatch NZ works to make it easier to use in the classroom. We especially want to allow teachers to create and administer their pupil's classroom user accounts on the website.

Shiny new features
Our developers are currently running to catch up with the fast-paced development of iNaturalist, the amazing open source project on which we base NatureWatch NZ. Look forward to a major NatureWatch NZ upgrade in the next couple of months. It will bring shiny new features like custom fields (so you can enter just what you need for your project) and more advanced ways to search for observations by location, among many other refinements.

Go on, count that kereru
NatureWatch NZ is partnering with Forest and Bird and WWF NZ this year for their nationwide kereru count. We'll be releasing more information about that soon.

This year, we'll also complete the migration of all the legacy NZBRN data and users, which will add another hundred thousand or so observations to NatureWatch NZ. And we've got a few more surprises up our sleeves.

Thanks for your support through 2012. You got NatureWatch NZ off to a great start! And welcome to everyone who discovers NatureWatch NZ for the first time in 2013.
NatureWatch NZ observation
The remarkable observation this month of a bellbird feeding a young silvereye.
NatureWatch NZ observation by Nicola Baines.

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