Get out and get on a trail!

One of the trails managed by TEDxHonolulu speaker Aaron Lowe (Photo: Daniel Ramirez/Flickr)

One of the trails managed by TEDxHonolulu speaker Aaron Lowe (Photo: Daniel Ramirez/Flickr)

Aaron Lowe is the Acting Statewide Program Manager for Na Ala Hele — the State of Hawai‘i Trail and Access Program. Lowe believes that trails are an essential part of any place — acting as refuges for wildlife, resources for scientific discovery, and as outlets for hiking, biking, horse riding and more.

Most indoor places are not exactly havens for wildlife, Lowe says. We spend hours in places like movie theaters, offices, classrooms, and even homes without any green spaces in them at all:”For some people, the closest they get to nature [day-to-day] is a plastic tree in their office,” he says. “I think it’s important to get people into the forest.”

A park employee leading a nature tour in Hawaii (Photo: Aaron Lowe)

A park employee leading a nature tour in Hawaii (Photo: Aaron Lowe)

But how? Lowe is working with the U.S. National Parks Service to fill trails with art: “The idea is that we get artists out on the trail to create sculptures along the trail. We take pictures of these sculptures and put them in city galleries and museums … [and then people can] go on the trail to see them themselves,” he says.

Te Atatu Harbourview Sculpture Trail (Photo: Robin Capper/Fickr)

Te Atatu Harbourview Sculpture Trail (Photo: Robin Capper/Fickr)

Another way is centered around technology. “People are on their phones all the time,” Lowe says. “[What if] you have an app on your cellphone that tells you more information about what you are looking at [on a trail]?” Some parks post QR codes strategically throughout trails, often included on signs with photos and conservation information.

The Director of Ecological Management for the New York Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, uses his smartphone to scan a QR code at the Lisha Kill Natural Area in Niskayuna (Photo: Gillian Scott/Albany Times Union)

The Director of Ecological Management for the New York Chapter of the Nature Conservancy scans a QR code on a trail in Niskayuna, NY (Photo: Gillian Scott/Albany Times Union)

The Montgomery Canal Trail in Wales has interactive signs that include audio and more (Photo: Canal & River Trust)

The Montgomery Canal Trail in Wales has interactive signs that include audio and more (Photo: Canal & River Trust)

Other parks have custom-built apps that include games, challenges and more. J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida just launched an app that gamifies the nature experience — encouraging kids to interact with nature.

A part of the app launch by Discover Apps (Photo: Discover Apps)

A part of the app launch by Discover Apps (Photo: Discover Apps)

Whatever the way, Lowe hopes more and more people will get outside — and onto a trail.

To learn more, watch his whole talk below:

1 Comment

  1. definitely must travel to live

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