Habitat officially launched at Central Park Zoo this week. We invited a bunch of NYC’s mommy bloggers to attend the event.
We filmed a little video of the event.
Below is the press release that will be sent out later today:
New Environmental App, Habitat the Game, Sends Kids on Real-life Missions to Save Virtual Endangered Species and Reduce Their Carbon Footprint
Habitat’s point system incentivizes players towards a 25% reduction in their carbon, water and land use
New York, NY – May 14, 2014 – The Wildlife Conservation Society and the Rainforest Alliance have announced an environmental app, Habitat the Game, during a media event in the Central Park Zoo in New York City. In an era where kids spend less than four minutes a day on unstructured outdoor play, this free app rewards kids for undertaking environmental actions and exploring the outdoors.
Designed to teach seven to 12 year-olds ecologically sustainable habits, Habitat encourages players to adopt an endangered animal, a virtual polar bear, and keep it happy and healthy. Players earn points through games in the app and by completing real-life “missions,” like recycling or checking in at more than 30 parks around the world, including the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo, as well as national parks and other iconic sites. The virtual pins collected at these sites can also be traded with players around the world.
“Kids today spend 70 percent less time outdoors than they did two generations ago,” said Courtney White, Director of Education at the Rainforest Alliance. “This app helps get kids outside while educating them about biodiversity and simple steps they can take to reduce their environmental footprint and create a healthier future for the planet.”
The Habitat team worked with the Integrated Sustainability Analysis team at Sydney University to develop algorithms that measure players’ ecological footprint based on indicators like water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to promoting outdoor activities, the point system in the game incentivizes players towards a 25% reduction in their carbon, water and land use and shows their impact through an ecological footprint calculator.
Additional game features include:
– Individual animal care, similar to Tamagotchi games
– Temple Run-style feeding games
– Challenge a friend invitations to see each others’ progress
– Leader board to track progress against other players
– Location services to note when a Habitat pin location is nearby
– Pin trading to swap pins with other players around the world
“Our aim was to create a game that was entertaining, but also had crossover into the real world,” said Kylee Ingram, the game’s developer. “Kids who play Habitat will be encouraged to change their real life behaviors.”
About Habitat the Game:
In the vein of the Tamagotchi persistence play craze of the 90s, users undertake actions to keep an endangered animal alive. In Habitat, game players adopt a polar bear. To keep the bear alive and healthy, players need to successfully complete events in the game, undertake real world actions and find locations. By completing these tasks players progress through levels, increasing the health of their bear. Ultimately the goal is to save the world by improving the bear’s health. Follow @habitatthegame http://www.facebook.com/habitatthegame
About Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS):
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org
About Rainforest Alliance:The Rainforest Alliance is a global nonprofit organization that works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily. For more information, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org. Follow @RnfrstAlliance