PITTSBURGH, PA- Scenic America and chapter Scenic Pittsburgh have created a new, free way for families to learn about scenic conservation while exploring Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle.
Using the educational gaming platform Agents of Discovery, the organizations launched a free new mobile game focusing on issues like visual pollution and the importance of protecting parks and green spaces. This smartphone-based platform, which is geared towards students, teachers, and families, uses augmented reality (AR) to guide users through a “mission,” similar to a scavenger hunt.
The Point State Park Mission explores the area of the park and the Pittsburgh skyline, and prompts users to identify examples of local visual pollution, such as billboards.
In addition to this Pittsburgh-specific mission, Scenic America has also created an Agents of Discovery mission that can be played from any location. This mission aims to educate users about the principles of scenic conservation, like preservation of scenic beauty, the eradication of scenic pollution in the visual environment, and the value of scenic areas. Some examples of scenic pollution include billboards, overhead wires, light pollution, litter, and tree cutting. This mission includes challenges like selecting which scenes have been affected by visual pollution, identifying sources of visual pollution, and using AR to play a recycling game.
A classroom curriculum developed in partnership with Project Green Schools enables the Agents of Discovery missions to be easily incorporated into elementary and middle school curricula.
Scenic America President, Mark Falzone said, “These missions help young people learn about scenic conservation in a fun and engaging way. Tying missions to specific locations, like Pittsburgh, is a way to get them interested and invested in their surroundings. Studies show that the more young people make a connection between scenic assets and their communities, the more likely they are to value those communities and fight to make them more scenic.”
Scenic America hopes to partner with Scenic Pittsburgh for additional Pittsburgh-area missions in the Agents of Discovery app and will continue to develop a broad range of educational resources for young people that encourage preservation and appreciation of our scenic heritage.
“We are excited to find ways to use this technology to reach young people in our region with our message that everyone deserves scenic beauty,” says Scenic Pittsburgh Executive Director Mike Dawida. “Southwestern Pennsylvania can be even more beautiful if our next generation helps to keep it that way.”
Learn more about Scenic America’s Agents of Discovery missions and how to download the app to play the game here.