|Me with Yasser Ansari, the creator of Project Noah at Bioblitz 2013|
It happened like this. Last Thursday night Kelby and I were eating crawfish at Bayou Barn in Crown Point at a Bioblitz gathering hosted by National Geographic. Yes, that’s right. National Geographic was feeding us crawfish. A couple came to sit with us with plates of crawdads. We looked up from our feeding frenzy long enough to notice they weren’t eating. “Want us to show you how to do it?” we asked. “Yes,” they said with a non-Louisiana accent. We did.
I asked, “What do you do?” The man said, “I create software to document wildlife sightings.” I looked up and said off-the-cuff, “Do you know about Project Noah?” The gorgeous girl, whose name was Ariana, said, “He created Project Noah.” That halted my consumption. The man sitting across from me had created one of the most phenomenal internet sites that I had ever come across and which I had joined last year. His name is Yasser Ansari.
Project Noah is a site where you can post your pictures of any organism that you come across on a page called “My Noah.” If you don’t know what it is, then someone will identify it. People from all over the world are continually posting pictures and you can get updates on Facebook. That’s not all. You earn badges for your efforts. For example I have earned four badges: Tadpole, Earth Week 2012, Deep Roots, and Keep it Steady. You can also join a variety of missions.
Project Noah also has an easy-to-use application for educators. Here are the three steps:
1. Join www. Project Noah.org
2. Register as a teacher and access the education tools
3. Set up your classroom and reconnect your students w/nature
Now your students can take pictures of what they see and post it on the site. Think of the excitement generated as they see their collections grow.
Later when I talked to Yasser in the National Geographic tent at Jean Lafitte National and Historical Park and Preserve, he told me about the challenges encountered to get Project Noah started. “There were many people, who said it wouldn’t work,” he said. Yasser is enthusiastic about the impact of using technology in such a positive way to help connect people with nature. His enthusiasm is infectious.
If you are a nature observer who takes picture, check out www.projectnoah.org. It will broaden your horizons and it’s fun.
Nature waits for you.