The Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens is set to launch an innovative multimedia app that serves as an information-rich educational tool as well as a comprehensive guide for visitors.
Botanic Explorer, developed by community group Friends of the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden, allows visitors to access information on plants, animals, walking tracks and other features of the botanic gardens at their own pace.
It uses scannable QR codes dotted around the grounds and features photos, diagrams, text, voice and other audio, providing information on more than 150 plant groups and species, common birds and their calls, insects, walking trails and special garden features, operations and history.
Gardens manager Michael Anlezark said one of the major challenges facing the facility was providing education in an interesting, engaging, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way.
“Traditional methods usually involve expensive signs or expensive and resource-hungry paper brochures, and both are only capable of providing a very limited amount of information,” he said.
“We needed to find a way to work around these limitations and move away from paper-based information.
“The Friends have developed a great system that we hope to expand and make more broadly available in the foreseeable future. The broad range of content will appeal to a wide range of users, and because it’s purpose built, the software can be adapted to our future needs.”
Friend of the Garden and project leader Stewart Needham said the app’s main focus was on native plants growing in the gardens, including where they can be found, tips for identification, what time of year they flower and the origin of their name.
“Next year we will be adding information on Aboriginal food plants, frogs and grasses as well as more flowering shrubs and trees,” Mr Needham said.
“We are also planning to extend it to include video content, which will allow us to show significant natural processes such as pollination, flower development and germination.”
To solve issues around the gardens’ limited Wi-Fi capability, Botanic Explorer has been downloaded onto iPads that are available from the visitor centre for a $5 fee.