Take a hike! Bringing the outdoors online
Nature Conservancy of Canada captures nature sites for people to see virtually
A national land conservation group is giving people ideas for places to go and things to see this Victoria Day long weekend. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has made 18 of its flagship sites more accessible to people around the world.
Through a partnership with Google, NCC has mapped several of its natural areas for Google Street View. Now that 360-degree views of these special areas of Canada are available online for people to see, the hope is that more people and visitors will actually get out and explore them.
Staff with the not-for-profit organization walked the areas with Google Trekker, a 29-kg (50-pound) backpack with a camera system on it. The Google Trekker has a green orb, about the size of a soccer ball, with 15 camera lenses and that takes images every 2.5 seconds.
NCC staff used the Google Trekker camera to capture images and GPS locations of hiking trails, pathways, beaches and other scenic areas and natural vistas.
The historic Fort Ellice property and diverse Elk Glen property were the first stops in Manitoba with Google Trekker. By bringing this technology to Fort Ellice and Elk Glen, people everywhere are able to appreciate the beauty and biodiversity of the St Lazare Plain/East Parklands and Riding Mountain Natural Areas. Located at the meeting point of the Assinboine River and Beaver Creek, Fort Ellice is a 4,767-acre (1,929-hectare) property, once a trading post and fort, which now supports a variety of ecosystems, including sandhill prairie, mixed-grass prairie, oak savannah, deciduous forests, wetlands and streams.
The Elk Glen property trails wind through a beautiful mixed wood forest, hilly fescue prairie, an oak forest and into some wetlands.
A complete list of sites can be viewed at http://www.natureconservancy.ca/trekker and span both ends of the country, from NCC’s lands along the East Coast Trail in Maddox Cove in Newfoundland and Labrador, to the Chase Woods in Mt. Tzouhalem in the Cowichan Valley of British Columbia. Also featured were the Happy Valley Forest, located 30 minutes from downtown Toronto, and the Green Mountains Nature Reserve in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.
“We hope these images will excite people in Canada and around the world to explore some of our most stunning and diverse landscapes, coast to coast,” said John Lounds, president and chief executive officer of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “Our mandate is to conserve our precious places, connect Canadians to nature and inspire people to cherish and care for all that nature gives us. We are pleased to work with Google to bring these conservation areas to a wider audience.”
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares) coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has helped conserve over 63,000 acres (25,495 hectares) in Manitoba.
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