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Silver Lake Nature Center app

Silver Lake Nature Center

An app to connect the physical to the digital

Our team has developed a visitor-focused transformation for Silver Lake Nature Center. This 235-acre complex is unique to Pennsylvania in that it harbors the best-protected Coastal Plain Forest left in the state. Responding to the communities’ desire for a more accessible, welcoming, and attractive space would support the friendly and open environment created by the staff. Our interactive exhibits prepare the visitor to understand what they will encounter when they hit the trail. Why are there all these large boulders everywhere? Are these softwood or hardwood trees? Is Silver Lake deep? What kind of animals or birds will I encounter? The secondary theme demonstrates the dynamic change that has taken place in just the last century, spectacular growth in dwellings, and, surprisingly, trees!

Shows results of design thinking

Content Map

To plan the new exhibit I lead my team and the stakeholders in a series of design thinking workshops. This included the Friends group, representing the community and institutional abutters, the staff, responsible for maintaining the aquariums, educational programs, and facilities, and County leadership. The result is a content plan that meets the educational requirements of the staff naturalist, the needs of the staff to easily update the species and other displays, and the community for a 'third place."

Shows environmental version of app

Graphic Panel

The exhibit consists of environmental elements, such as interactive exhibits, aquariums, and graphic panels. This panel about the Coastal Woodland environment was selected to create the prototype of the app.

Wireframe for SLNC app

App wireframe

The goal of the app is to enable visitors to select each species, such as the fox and the birds, to learn more about their habitat and other specific information, such as how they might sound or a video of the fox running.

Open screen for SLNC app


Try the prototype! Exhibit graphics are large and colorful, but are restricted by what can reasonably fit on a graphic panel, too much text and pictures cause visitors to pass them by. By visually linking the graphic panel to an app, the images can be used as a physical point of departure for other experiences, such as bird calls, seasonal changes in appearance, and other fun facts that could not be supported by the graphic panel.