It takes some thinking to get a guided tour of Presque Isle State Park without using a guide. How do they do it?
One of park naturalist Stacey Marendt’s favorite jobs, is leading visitors on tours of park trails; an enjoyment that has been cut short by the COVID pandemic. But Stacey and the other naturalists have an answer: a tour that uses computers instead of people.
“We put together a set of virtual walks that you can do on your own. So there are four virtual walks, and there is an individual educator that did each walk,” says Marendt.
You can follow along with your smart phone and stop when the tour wants to point something out. There are also pictures of the tour guides along the trails called flat naturalists. They can be proof that you took a virtual hike.
“So this will be mine and somewhere along the trail you will see on a post or a tree, and we would like everyone to take a selfie with the flat naturalist and post it either to Twitter or Facebook,” says Marendt.
The flat naturalist virtual hikes are available beginning December 31st.
Email Stacey Marendt at email@example.com for all four tours
Post your selfies to Twitter or Facebook, and use the hashtag flat naturalist (#flatnaturalist).