By Sofia Celis Avellaneda
As Hillsborough County and the Tampa area are growing, the places around grow more and more alongside the technology. There are so many things we don’t know about the parks around us and the history behind them. In 2022, technology has been a very important part of life. Especially with COVID-19 around, there are many things we need to do on computer and phone to stay safe. Recently, a new online application created by Hillsborough County Conservation & Environmental Lands Management has come about that could help: audio tours.
According to Ashley Martin, “The idea came about when we were unable to give face-to-face tours and hikes during COVID but still wanted to provide our guests with a guided hike experience.”
This application is called Hillsborough FL Nature Tours, which can be download in the App Store and the Google Play store. This application works in the parks, with QR codes to get you into the park you are at as well as outside of the parks at your home by simply opening the app.
Martin said, “You can listen to the audio of any of the tours from the comfort of your home as a way to experience the parks even when you cannot visit, learn about local ecology and history …”
As a new and upcoming app, so many updates are to come. As of right now, the company has only 14 parks that you can view on the app.
The 14 parks are Alderman’s Ford Conservation Park, Alafia River Corridor South Nature Preserve, Apollo Beach Nature Preserve, Bahia Beach Nature Preserve, Bell Creek Nature Preserve, Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve, Edward Medard Conservation Park, Golden Aster Scrub Nature Preserve, Lake Frances Nature Preserve, Lake Park Nature Preserve, Lettuce Lake Conservation Park, Lower Green Swamp Nature Preserve, Triple Creek Nature Preserve and Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park.
In the future, it wants to add more parks and have more areas of Florida into their application.
Another update Martin said was “…adding videos for ‘virtual’ hikes or we perhaps someday also using the app to feature our newsletter — The Trailblazer — or upcoming events like in-person hikes, paddles and festivals.”
Along with adding new features, since not everyone speaks English, the county is working on adding a translation feature so audio tours can be in English and Spanish. Right now, it is listening to its audience and taking as much feedback as possible.
For more information, please contact Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.