Let the hands-on work begin!

After some discussion of what is possible to accomplish in our time frame, we have decided on our final idea. We will be constructing a mobile interactive unit to display our research on our seven chosen invasive species. We are gearing the display towards children age six to twelve, but would also like it to be informative and entertaining for adults as well that may be accompanying the children. This mobile unit will hopefully be able to be brought to elementary schools, any city educational fairs, or to Science City. After visiting Science City and seeing the starting of their invasive species display, we learned that they were looking for something more interactive for their space and we thought our unit could be of some use for them as well.

An interactive information board we saw at Science City in their invasive species display

The interactive unit will display information on each invasive species as well as a photo of each. To make this piece interactive we also want to add a representation of water and land, where we can have images of our invasive species and where they can be found (either in a tree, in the river, etc.) There will be a map of the world also on this display, and the idea is that the children can identify each invasive species by the information and picture given, locate it in the place it can be found, and move it to the location in the world it originated from.

We are still in the idea stage for the design of our prototype, but have a general idea of what we are aiming for in terms of design and functionality. Since we have a limited budget, we have decided to go out hunting for materials we can get a hold of for little to no cost. From the materials we gather, we hope to have a better idea of our design for our interactive unit. The first thing we are looking for is a cabinet/ set of drawers that we can build onto. We want to have drawers to open that are full of information and/or dioramas, a lid that opens and closes on the top of the unit which will display information as well.

We met with local artist Scott Hughes this week, who has had experience in creating informative displays. He was very informative on the things we must take into consideration and the ways and materials to do and/or make our display. We learned that we have much more work to do on our prototype as we are coming down to the last few weeks of class! Hopefully we can start to put things together in the week coming up!

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In the Process

This week we began to finalize a list of invasive species likely to be found in the downtown core, a boundary which we have identified as the water front on Riverside Drive, south to Erie Street, and Church Street east to Howard Avenue. In the coming days, we will be taking to the streets and attempting to locate all of our chosen “invaders.”

Additionally, we have narrowed the target audience of our tour to families and children. In attempt to get the participation we envisioned, we have begun locating local schools from the English and French school boards, and are planning to contact them to see how our tour could fit in with their curriculum. We are also trying to get in contact with Science City.

The image above was taken from Google Maps, and shows our tour area.
This area was selected as we believe it gives us a large enough area to locate
invasive species.

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Baby Steps!

Every week that goes by becomes more and more challenging with new issues to overcome around every corner. We started out the week by sitting down and brainstorming to narrow down our ideas for our tour of the city.

At first, instead of narrowing down our ideas, brainstorming broadened them. We threw out any idea that came into our heads, and as silly as some were, we considered all of them. We decided to limit our ideas to family friendly ones, because there is already a pull to the downtown area for the young adults with the large nightlife. After a bit of research and heavy brainstorming, we came up with a feasible idea we could all agree on: a tour showing and educating the public on the invasive species that have moved into Windsor and the Detroit River. We wish to include research on plants, grass, trees, birds, insects, fish and other water-life. The tour could include places along the riverfront, parks near the downtown core and the plants brought in to decorate the streets. We aim to focus on what the native species are versus the invasive species. We will attempt to figure out if these invasive species were placed here intentionally or unintentionally (travelled here on their own). If the invasive species were put here intentionally, then why? Or, was there something else that could have been put in its place? These are questions we hope to solve in our research over the next few weeks. We plan to contact Science City, GLIER, and local elementary schools to see if they have thoughts on our idea. Ideally we would like this to possibly be used as a science class field trip, or a family day adventure to educate people on the city they live in. We have plans to look into perhaps making a website to advertise the tour, and making brochures either printed versions, printable online versions, or both.

As we mentioned last week, we have researched other city’s tour booklets and ideas. Recently we are reading about “psychogeography” to see if it is something we can incorporate into our tour. Psychogeography is the study of the laws and effects of the geographical environment, on the emotions and behaviours of individuals. We believe this is an interesting way to look at the simple idea of a tour, and that we can use it to perhaps force people off their normal paths and discover new things in Windsor!

Some definitions of Psychogeography by Guy Debord, who defined the term.

There is very exciting progress to be made in the next few weeks coming up! Stay tuned!

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