Connecting with Nature in a World of Technology
Virtual field trips offer nature immersion experiences at home and in the classroom.
There is a growing disparity between the time people spend indoors wired to technology and the time they spend outside enjoying nature.
One of the biggest challenges The Nature Conservancy has in using its amazing preserves for education is the remote nature of these places. Preserves can be excellent outdoor classrooms that immerse children and adults in near-pristine natural areas that educate them about plants, animals and ecology, as well as the key environmental issues of our time. However, the opportunities for on-the-ground conservation on a large scale are often in remote areas far removed from population centers where most of our state’s people live.
In this era of overloaded schedules and reduced funding for extracurricular activities like field trips, making a trek to a remote location has become even more difficult.
The Solution: Virtual Tours
Part of the answer to this perplexing problem lies in the problem itself; the reliance on electronic technology means that people have computer skills that allow them to navigate the internet in search of information. The internet offers anyone who is interested a wealth of information about places from the mountains of Nepal to the vast grasslands of the Serengeti.
If we can bring these far-away places to anyone’s computer, why can’t we do the same with the wild and wonderful places right here in Oklahoma?
The Nature Conservancy and Bank of America teamed up to overcome the challenge by bringing Oklahoma nature preserves online via OK360! We are using 360-degree high definition technology to transport children and adults via the internet to the remote places found on our preserves. OK360 is an online, interactive system that delivers panoramic views of Oklahoma’s native and diverse landscapes, as well as engaging multi-media learning tools about ecology, ecosystems and keystone species like bison or deer.
Inspire, Engage and Learn!
OK360 is great for all ages! Bring nature to your fingertips without having to leave the city and immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of Oklahoma’s wild places.
- Take a stroll through the prairie amongst the free-ranging bison at Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.
- Get an up close view of the Illinois River and woodlands in the foothills of the Ozarks at J.T. Nickel Preserve.
- Embark on a journey through the rugged canyons and mixed-grass prairie at Four Canyon Preserve.
- Experience the free-flowing waters of the Blue River at Oka' Yanahli Preserve.
- Take a trek through the limestone glades and wildflowers at Pontotoc Ridge Preserve.
There are all kinds of fun and creative ways to use OK360 to connect youth to nature in the classroom and at home. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Host an indoor field trip day.
- Challenge them to an online scavenger hunt.
- Incorporate into curriculum in math, English, geology or biology.
- Develop sensory skills with the sounds of nature and wildlife behavior in featured videos.
Tips for Your Field Trip
- OK360 works best in Firefox and Chrome web browsers on a desktop. Internet Explorer is not recommended.
- If you are prompted to enter login information, click cancel and refresh the page.
Immerse Yourself in Nature
Take a virtual field trip and experience breathtaking 360° panoramic views of Oklahoma’s native and diverse landscapes!