This app lets you explore Wildlife Trust nature reserves and events wherever you are in the UK. The Wildlife Trusts care for more than 2000 wild places – woods, meadows, moors, rivers, heaths, hills, bogs, coastline and urban parks. You can use this app to find and explore wild places near you.
Runs offline: partially
Last update: Android 16/11/2016 (v. 2.0.8) – iOS 16/11/2016 (v. 2.0)
Website of the developer: The Wildlife Trust
Notes: article updated on 11/02/2017
Nature Finder is an application created by The Wildlife Trust, UK conservation organization that is responsible, through 47 regional associations that operate independently and autonomously, of the protection and promotion of over 2000 natural areas at the local level. These natural spaces are characterized for being located in the vicinity of urban areas, being, in many cases, degraded areas that have been restored, recovering them for the enjoyment of citizenship and which are currently home to numerous animal species and flora of interest.
The application has as objective to inform users on the work of the organization, the managed spaces, the activities carried out in these areas (more than 11,000 activities during the year 2013/2014) or about habitats and species most representative of the territory.
The application presents the following options, accessible from the side menu or the textual menu on the home screen:
- “Find a Wildlife Trust”, where you can see what is the association that coordinates the various activities in your region of residence if you are interested in collaborate with them or sign up as a member (Wildlife Trust is partially funded by its members, more than 800,000, with fees ranging between 2 or 3 pounds/month). The app includes a sheet with the address, contact information, link to the website, etc., for each entity.
- “Find nature reserves”, section where you can find the natural spaces managed by the organization, through a map (has an option to locate your position as a user) or a list. Each area presents a sheet with information such as the entity responsibility for its management, a brief description of the space, address, contact, visitor information (days and opening times, best dates to visit, access, if it has a visitor center, etc.).
- “Events”, tab to consult the different activities scheduled.
- “Habitats & species”, section that includes information sheets on different groups of animals, plants and fungi or habitats.
Images: Screenshots 30/03/2016 © The Wildlife Trust
There are numerous studies linking natural areas with human welfare. In fact, a recent article on the web Nature quoted a statement from Richard Mitchell, of Glasgow University, which asserts that «nature improves mental health — people are less depressed when they have better access to green spaces. The beneficial effect is not just a matter of physical exercise, although that is part of the picture. There is something about natural environments that improves people’s well-being». Regarding this, it’s very important to dispose of a network of natural spaces at the vicinity of urban areas that can satisfy the needs of the inhabitants and this is the main labor that The Wildlife Trust develops, promoting its work through the app Nature Finder.
Although the Nature Finder app is quite complete and allows a first approach to the local environment and some of the species that inhabit in it, it would be necessary to include more images of the natural areas. It might also be useful to include the optional ability to download resources such as routes for the different areas (the Android version of the application can be moved to a memory card).