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New Animal Field Guide mobile app released

By Adriana Fehrs

The CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation released a new mobile app that will aid those wanting to explore animals in the outdoors. (Courtesy photo) The CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation released a new mobile app that will aid those wanting to explore animals in the outdoors. (Courtesy photo)

POLSON — The CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation has released a new mobile app to serve as a convenient field guide for animals found along the Flathead Indian Reservation’s streams and rivers.

CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation Information and Education developed and recently released the mobile app, titled ‘Animal Field Guide – Flathead Reservation: Riparian Species’, that is directed towards elementary, middle, and high school aged students.

The app aims to support the Tribes’ annual River Honoring that takes place along the banks of the Lower Flathead River. “We wanted to do something with wildlife. We’ve done educational projects for the Tribal Fisheries Department, so this time around we wanted to do educational outreach for wildlife. This app is something that complements the work we are doing with the river honoring – it’s an education prep tool for that event, which can be used in the class,” says Germaine White, CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation Information and Education Specialist.

The app includes information for 125 different animal species, like fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds, that biologists classify as “riparian species”, or species that can be commonly found along rivers and streams. The division states that most of the species found in the app are also found along rivers and streams throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation developed an Animal Field Guide mobile app for elementary, middle, and high school students. The app includes photos, a description, information and maps on a species’ conservation status and sensitivity to climate change, a range map, and also Salish, Pend d'Oreille, and Kootenai cultural information. (Courtesy photo) The CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation developed an Animal Field Guide mobile app for elementary, middle, and high school students. The app includes photos, a description, information and maps on a species’ conservation status and sensitivity to climate change, a range map, and also Salish, Pend d'Oreille, and Kootenai cultural information. (Courtesy photo)

For each specific animal, the app includes photos, a description, information and maps on a species’ conservation status and sensitivity to climate change, a range map, and also Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai cultural information about each species and audio recordings of each species name in the Salish and Kootenai languages.

In the mammal section of the app, photos help identify animals by tracks, and users can listen to audio recordings of the sounds made by the animal. For the bird species, users can listen to songs and calls, and read about their natural history.

The app is primarily used as a teaching aid. “There are nature activities that teachers and instructors can use with their students, which includes counting species, identifying tracks, and adopting a mitigation area. Students can also learn the Salish and Kootenai animal names, and how to write a science journal,” says White. The department hopes to encourage teachers to take their students out on educational field trip on tribal mitigation land, which there is over 4,400 acres found along the Flathead River corridor.

The app provides educational materials to accompany the River Honoring, provide further incentives for teachers to utilize the river and adjacent Tribal mitigation lands for educational field trips, and to provide students with a educational tool, which is easily accessible and fun, that they can use on their own outside of the classroom. Seven different CSKT Fish and Wildlife Conservation areas are profiled with general descriptions and information about wildlife species and the status of habitats in the area.

At the end of November, CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation Information and Education released the mobile app, titled ‘Animal Field Guide – Flathead Reservation: Riparian Species’ a mobile app. It is available for download for free, for both android and apple devices at www.csktfwapps.org . (Courtesy photo)  At the end of November, CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation Information and Education released the mobile app, titled ‘Animal Field Guide – Flathead Reservation: Riparian Species’ a mobile app. It is available for download for free, for both android and apple devices at www.csktfwapps.org . (Courtesy photo)

CSKT applied for funding to create the app early last year. The division received a $20,000 grant from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to fund the project, and by June of 2013, they began working on the app.

It took a year-and-a-half to complete, and White says they had a lot of support. “We worked a lot with wildlife biologists throughout the development of the app; they provided us with a lot of information.”

By the end of November, the mobile app was complete and the division released the app to the public. It is available for download for free, for both android and apple devices.

White says so far, there haven’t been any problems with the app, and if they want to make changes it’s an easy update. In the future, White hopes to release an app of upland species.

To download the free app, or to find more information, visit www.csktfwapps.org.

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