Tuesday 17 September 2019

Gorey based adventure app Wilder Wander launches new heritage trail

Inside Business

Wilder Wander is based in Gorey’s Hatch Lab
Wilder Wander is based in Gorey’s Hatch Lab

Cathy Lee

Wilder Wander, the free location-based nature exploration app, has had a very successful start and has just launched a new trail in the Wexford area, the heritage trail at Ferns Castle, covering 3,000 years of local history, and looks set for another, a nature trail, at Ramsfort, Wexford, which is currently being finalised.

Developed as a start up company at the Hatch Lab in Gorey last summer, the Wilder Wander application uses data collected on specific heritage or nature sites, from forests and rivers, to urban parks and walkways to create a tailor-made trail, suitably fun for all ages to enjoy.

Through games and challenges on the app as well as a leader board, it keeps the explorer interested throughout their walk and includes facts and figures on sites as the nature trail continues.

To date, Wilder Wander has developed trails Courtown, Tara Hill, Askamore, Oulart Hill, River Slaney, Kilmore Quay and Ballyteige Burrow for the people in Wexford and tourists alike to enjoy.

There are trails popping up further afield in Dublin, and trails are also being tested in London, Cork and Galway.

Once downloaded from the Apple app Store or the Google playstore, trails can be searched for and saved or downloaded, meaning that the app can be used offline as well as online.

Vicki O'Donnell, director of Wilder Wander is originally from Wicklow and had been working remotely and in academia before starting business with Wilder Wander, having had no previous background in business.

'The Hatch lab was perfect for Wilder Wander, it was fantastic to have such a facility on my doorstep,' said Vicki, who moved back to the east coast three years ago to be closer to family.

Vicki has always loved the great outdoors and she studied zoology at university, she gradually got interested in data and is delighted that Wild Wander combines both her passions.

She said that she has loved watching Wild Wander grow and grow since in its first year and looking to the future, Wilder Wander has its sights on creating special study resources designed for teachers to use on school field trips or excursions with school children. At the moment, Vicki are her team are looking for testers for new trails, with the hope of aiming to suit the trails around curriculum requirements for the junior and leaving certificate courses in schools, and link the trails to classroom learning taking a 'learning by doing' attitude.

The hope is to have this 'off the shelf field trip package' ready for after the summer.

'We are turning the great outdoors into a virtual classroom with our free activity-based mobile tours and our educational resources for schools powered by scientific data on biodiversity, space, the earth, oceans, geology, weather patterns and even human heritage,' Vicki explained, who holds a particular interest in biodiversity and heritage.

She added that the learning experience is better, due to the fact that the app includes quick informative tasks and quizzes, which act as a motivator to learn more but in a fun way.

'It's great how there are no barriers to this, and it caters for a broad range of age groups, for example those who might be interested in the 1798 rebellion connections to Oulart, their interest is catered for,' said Vicki.

Data us gathered from all sources to generate the trails, and communication with community groups and local councils has been key to this, and that Wild Wander wants to give back in terms of making perfect walks available for local community groups, government agencies, education facilities, heritage and biodiversity groups to promote the locality.

'There's a huge amount of information out there, but it's not together and easy to use. The fact that you can easily press buttons that provide local information on the app, it's very easy to use because all you need is a smart phone or tablet,' said Vicki.

The Wilder Wander Team have expertise in heritage and biodiversity and can build tours from scratch, or work with you to help build your tours for groups or individuals, to be delivered on visitors phones through GPS navigation.

The app can also access social media, to share results or photos from the journey.

Wexford People

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