With an ever-growing urban population, the gap between people’s day-to-day lives and our natural world is widening. We live in a society full of distractions, and nature is becoming further removed from many people’s frame of reference.
Fellow Florence Wilkinson is looking to overcome this gap through her new app Warblr, for which she has just launched a crowdfunding campaign on the RSA's campaign on Kickstarter with support from RSA Catalyst.
"Birds are indicators of the environment. If they are in trouble, we know we'll soon be in trouble”, writes Roger Tory Peterson. And I’m sad to say that right now, our British birds are in trouble. Just last week Government figures revealed that populations of farm birds, such as grey partridge, turtle dove and the starling, are down by more than 85% since the 1970s.
We are losing our biodiversity at a terrifying rate: between 1000 and 10,000 times the natural extinction rate, according to experts. Never has our flora and fauna been in greater need of protection.
In the light of such figures, any attempt to take positive action may seem like a drop in the ocean, but we hope that we can create a little ripple, which alongside many other organisations will help us make waves.
That’s why we’re developing Warblr, an audio recognition app for birdsong. We’ve completed our prototype, and – if successful – our Kickstarter campaign will allow us to launch in full in the spring. The way in which Warblr works is simple: users make a recording with their mobile device, and then Warblr identifies the species of bird/s that can be found in that recording, and provides information about those species.
We hope that Warblr will have the power to bring people closer to the natural world through technology. We want to get people outdoors, learning about the wildlife on their doorsteps, because we believe that this will make them want to protect it for future generations.
In the longer term we also plan to use Warblr as a citizen science project; in-the-app geo-tracking will allow mapping of different species as and when they are identified. This data will be made publically available, allowing zoologists and ecologists to monitor species growth and decline, patterns of migration, and ultimately to aid conservation.
We believe that birds can and should be enjoyed by everyone, and we want them to continue filling our woods, hedgerows and wetlands with their song. If you feel the same, please do consider backing our Kickstarter campaign and help us to spread the word.
Contact Florence via email
Visit Warblr on the RSA's crowdfunding area on Kickstarter.
To get support from RSA Catalyst to crowdfund your social venture visit the Catalyst webpages.