Aug. 27, 2008
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Environmental center launches Critter Quest PA Web site
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Educational information about black bears, bald eagles, bog turtles and more than 400 other Pennsylvania "critters" is now a mouse click away. The Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education, housed at Slippery Rock University, has launched Critter Quest PA, an interactive Web site (www.pcee.org).
The site displays the habitats of 468 common and endangered mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish native to Pennsylvania. Users can also create broader habitat maps displaying watersheds, cities, rivers, land use and school districts.
The center designed the Web site for environmental educators with a focus on middle school students, and for novice naturalist seeking more information on species living in their neighborhoods, said Kathleen Paul, center director.
Users select a county and generate a list of critters living in that county
"We designed Critter Quest PA to help Pennsylvanians better understand and appreciate the natural diversity that surrounds them," Paul said.
Critter Quest PA was funded by a grant from the Wild Resource Conservation Program of Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The program uses ARC-IMS software to create graphic data overlays on a map of Pennsylvania.
Future plans include grant proposals to develop educational materials to support the online resource. PCEE hopes to develop virtual learning spaces "Critter Wikis" equipped with Web 2.0 technologies to provide teachers with even more powerful and interactive tools for teaching students about the environment, Paul said.
The Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education was created by executive order of the governor in 1997 and established by statute in 2008 to "provide an avenue for increased participation by educators, local officials, citizen and non-profit groups, business and industry as partners in the implementation of quality environmental education on a statewide basis."
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.