The conservation charity has launched a new app to allow people to have fun while learning about the environment

WWF's Waterside Challenge app
WWF's Waterside Challenge app

What is it?

The WWF Waterside Challenge app encourages people to explore 10 London waterside hotspots chosen by the charity. The app, which was launched yesterday, can be activated when users visit these sites, as well as parts of the Olympic canal route. Users can aim the screen of their phone at certain spots to activate 'augmented reality' – facts, quizzes and videos – to learn more about the locations. They can also take part in challenges to win Panda Points, which can be exchanged for prizes.

Where are the hotspots?

The app can be activated at any of the 10 locations – Tottenham Marshes, Highgate Ponds, Middlesex Filter Beds, Camley Street Natural Park, New River Walk, Regent’s Canal, Stave Hill Ecological Park, Leg O’Mutton Natural Reserve, Queensmere Ponds and Morden Hall Park – as well as the Olympic Waterways mini-trail in east London that runs from Hackney Wick along the canal to the Olympic Park.

WWF launch of the appWhat are the prizes that can be won?

Prizes from WWF UK include "The Panda Made Me Do It" T-shirts, canoeing and kayaking lessons and other surprises.

To keep track of their points, users need to create an account or log in through Facebook.

Why is the charity doing it?

Neil Gunn, head of digital strategy at WWF UK, said: "This is the first time we've jumped into apps in a major way. We think that by combining the beauty of the natural world with the rich information available in the digital world, people might get even more out of their weekend trip to the riverbank."

The app aims to get Londoners thinking differently about the environment, by getting out and exploring their local watersides using new technology. Once people start to enjoy the outdoors, the charity hopes they are more likely to want to take positive action to protect it.

What’s the bigger picture?

The app is part of WWF UK’s The Panda Made Me Do It campaign to reward and encourage pro-environmental behaviour.

Third Sector verdict:

This app is a great way to get people in London interested in their local environment. The use of augmented reality makes learning about nature more fun and interactive, while the Panda Points will help to encourage younger users to take part.

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