Connecting youth with history
June marks National Get Outdoors Day, and the Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail (NPNHT) and its partners are launching new Agents of Discovery App Mission sites in the Bitterroot Valley.
Geared toward 4th grade age youth and older, but fun for all ages, Agents of Discovery is an educational mobile gaming platform that uses augmented reality to motivate youth and their families to get outdoors, moving, and learning.
The Bitterroot Valley will have four Mission sites, with fun companion “Agents” at each Mission site—Agent Mallard at Lake Como in Darby, Agent It’seYeYe at River Park in Hamilton, Agent Tomaso at St. Mary’s Mission in Stevensville, and Agent Seaman at Travelers’ Rest State Park in Lolo. For each Mission completed, users can earn an award and enter to win prizes.
The game offers site-specific challenges that educate users about the unique environment that surrounds them. Agents are given a mission that is individual to each site, and, using the geo-location on their phones, are guided through a series of challenges, questions, and learning activities that reveal what is special about that location.
Missions (games) are free to download and play, and once downloaded do not require Wi-Fi or a data connection to function. All Mission sites in the Bitterroot have network connectivity except Lake Como; it is, however, best to download the app from iTunes or Google Play on a high speed connection before heading out for adventure.
“It was a huge team effort, we are delighted with the results, and we expect to see additional missions developed in the future,” said Sandra Broncheau-McFarland, Administrator, NPNHT. “The Trail has embraced technology and is eager to offer engaging and powerful learning experiences to visitors of all ages as they explore their National Forests. We are especially grateful to all of our partners who helped make this possible.”
Agents of Discovery in the Bitterroot Valley is made possible by support from the U.S. Forest Service—Washington Office, NPNHT, and Bitterroot National Forest. The Forest Service partnered with local Bitterroot Valley organizations to make these new Mission sites available, including Bitter Root Cultural Heritage Trust, Travelers Rest Preservation and Heritage Association, Historic St. Mary’s Mission, and Ravalli County Museum.
Agents of Discovery offers more than 75 missions across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, guiding young people through forests, parks, preserves, museums, and other public spaces. This platform helps them discover a new way to learn about our natural world.