Solar-powered visitor experiences have been installed at two flagship Somerset Wildlife Trust reserves.
The Avalon Marshes is part of a ‘super nature reserve’ close to Glastonbury. The wetlands are an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including wintering wildfowl that flock here in large numbers. On any given day you can expect to find a few hardy ‘birders’ in the bird hide next to the car park at Catcott Reserve but the latest Somerset Wildlife Trust plans welcome new audiences and encourage wider exploration across more of the reserve within the Somerset Levels.
Catcott Reserve boasts three bird hides, two which have been rarely visited in the past, and now each one is connected with digital interpretation that reveals what visitors – experts and novices alike – can expect to find across the reserve. Visitors connect to solar-powered Info Points using their phone and can listen to individual bird songs (to help with identification), watch videos and read about the lives of the wildlife found throughout the seasons. There is even access to a webcam that provides a view no other member of the public can access, complete with Glastonbury Tor in the background. An interactive map provides a self-guided tour around the reserve.
Info Point has provided Somerset Wildlife Trust with the ability to deliver rich digital experiences where there is no power or connectivity on our nature reserves.
Our network of Info Points contains a wealth of information about the wildlife, history and landscape of the Avalon Marshes. Visitors no longer rely on a printed leaflet, by connecting to the Info Points visitors can access digital species spotting guides, videos and interactive tours, all of which help to improve the visitor experience.
Throughout the project, the support from the Info Point team has been outstanding. Nothing is too much trouble! Given the challenging location of our nature reserves, the Info Point team have always been there with a solution. We’ve enjoyed working with them to deliver the first solar powered digital interpretation networked experience on a nature reserve in the UK.Gavin Richards, Digital Transformation Manager, Somerset Wildlife Trust
The Info Point Solars installed at Catcott are the first of their kind and were developed specifically for the project, but have much wider commercial application. The turnkey solution ensures no electrical knowledge is required to install the plug and play units, although a head for heights can be handy when installing the solar panels on a two storey Tower Hide!
Our previous solar-powered Info Point required customers to wire everything together and we realised that a) not everyone had these skills and b) it introduced a number of potential fail points. This wasn’t good for anyone so we developed a product that made installation much easier. Info Point Solar contains everything within the enclosure, except the solar panels, which are simply connected using supplied cables that snap into sockets. Here at Catcott, Gavin has used a combination of brackets to mount the solar panels onto the bird hides.Dan Boys, Managing Director, Wildfi Ltd
Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Digital Transformation Manager, Gavin Richards, was also keen to showcase the hidden wildlife at West Hay reserve and Wildfi provided a solar-powered kit for a webcam and 4G dongle that transmits live pictures throughout the day.