Geraldton was the centre of national attention for this year’s World Environment Day 2018 when the federal Assistant Minister for the Environment, and Member for Durack, Melissa Price MP made a point of being in town to launch a brand new ‘CRFwildflowers’ app – designed and developed by local volunteer Bushcare group Chapman River Friends.
With a bit of guidance from Chapman River Friends members and app designers Alice James and Virginie Furhmann, and Northern Agricultural Catchments Council Biodiversity Coordinator Jessica Stingemore, Assistant Minister Price formally launched the app in the Chapman River Regional Park in the heart of Geraldton, and immediately showed some prowess in identifying a couple of plant species already flowering in the park.
Assistant Minister Price said the app was really impressive, and a great resource to help both locals and tourists understand more about the Mid West’s natural assets.
“The Chapman River Friends have done a fantastic job sharing this knowledge with locals and visitors through an informative brochure, free guided walks and now this new program,” Assistant Minister Price said.
“The app is a wonderful tool and quite unique in Australia, so it’s a great example of how we can develop a greater tourism product through innovation.”
The free interactive guide features photos and information about 112 species of flora found in Chapman River Regional Park. Users can search by characteristics — plant habit, flower colour, flowering season — whittling down the options until the mystery plant can be identified. No professional botany experience is needed. Information on each species common, scientific and family names is also provided. The app is also designed to be fully functional without a phone signal once it has been downloaded.
NACC Biodiversity Program Coordinator Jessica Stingemore said the app was an amazing collaborative project, and acknowledged the federal government’s National Landcare Program for funding the project.
“By partnering with Chapman River Friends, and local, state and federal governments, NACC hopes to further engage our local community and to help-out with land-, sea-, water- and biodiversity-conservation activities.” she said.
“Partner projects like this app makes me optimistic that people in our region will be able to meet all of the challenges being thrown at them, and continue “caring for country” in the Northern Agricultural Region.
“And besides, it’s probably happened to everyone who’s ever taken a bushwalk along the Chapman River, when you’re walking along and a bright wildflower catches your eye. You’ve never seen it before — and you want to know more. Well, the Chapman River Friends have developed an app to help.
“Thanks to everyone who’s helped make this app a reality. We’re excited to have been able to support the project.”
Chapman River Friend Alice James said the group developed this app to encourage more people to get actively involved in learning more about the stunning wildflowers in the Chapman River Regional Park, as well as other natural areas.
“We encourage community members and visitors to download the app and give it a go. We would love if this inspired them to become more involved in conservation activities throughout the region.”
This project is supported by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.