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Calling nature content creators- All aboard the Wildscreen ARK!

As a researcher, I have been overwhelmed by the positive response to Wildscreen ARK from potential content contributors. So many people share our mission of connecting young people to nature and have been eager to help in any way they can, going above and beyond to help us fill the first release for Wildscreen ARK. The initially daunting prospect of contacting strangers to feature their content has turned into one of my favourite parts of the job and I’m delighted to be sharing Wildscreen ARK with more and more people by the day.  

Wildscreen ARK is an online education platform packed full of films, photographs and facts about the natural world. It’s the teenage cousin of our previous platform ARKive, but now ARKive’s mission is complete, it’s time for a new generation of content to inspire a new generation of learners, starting with UK species.

Research shows that children’s engagement with wildlife plummets between the ages of 13 and 18, when young people drift from the natural world to the digital (Hughes, 2019). Wildscreen ARK’s purpose is to bring the two worlds together, and provide a place for open dialogue between them, so that teens and educators can channel what they’ve learnt from ARK into actively re-engaging with the natural world.  

 To kickstart this conversation, Wildscreen ARK links related content, but doesn’t use a tailored algorithm, so that a child can browse wildlife photos and videos freely. Each species has tags attached to it describing its natural history – for example its physical adaptations, behaviour, life stages… and these link to species that share them. An initial search for butterflies, for example, could end at Atlantic puffins, boosting the scope of learning that can happen from one journey on Wildscreen ARK. 

We are confident that Wildscreen ARK will inspire young people to re-engage with nature, create their own natural world narratives, and ultimately feel invested in preserving wildlife species, but to make this a reality, we need your help! 

We need a variety of content that reflects a species outside of its ‘picture-perfect’ image. You can learn to identify a blue tit from a well-composed photo, but you’ll care most about their existence by seeing the relatable aspects of their lives. My job as a Media Research Intern is to track this content down and balance the quirky with the conventional to build an eye-catching, well-rounded species profile.  

 Anything from footage of dramatic interspecies interactions to photos of species at different life stages can have an impact, so if you have content for a species you see on Wildscreen ARK in the future and think it would make a great addition, please get in touch at ark@wildscreen.org.uk!  

Lucy Allan-Jones 

Lucy is an ARK Media Research  intern at Wildscreen, supported by the Nisbet Trust. 

Wildscreen ARK is generously funded by The Linbury Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation and The Nisbet Trust, with in-kind support from Rocketmakers.