There’s an App for That

Alternative ways of seeing native plants and wildlife.

Photo courtesy of Flora of Virginia Project

New ways of experiencing and learning about Virginia’s diverse natural landscape have cropped up through apps and audio tours. The Virginia Flora Project, an impressive rejuvenation and expansion of the original Flora Virginica that was published in the mid 1700s, has translated its contents into a beautiful and user-friendly mobile app. With no Internet connection required, thousands of photographs, descriptions, and botanical illustrations are at your fingertips. It covers 95 percent of Virginia plants and provides color-coded county-to-county maps for parsing native from non-native species. 

The Virginia Tech Tree Identification app is easy to navigate, meticulously designed, and customizable. It provides in-depth descriptions of more than 1,000 trees in North America and even includes a self-quizzing section to deepen your knowledge of native trees. By pinpointing your location with GPS, you can dramatically narrow the results. (Google PlayApple Store)

The Blandy Experimental Farm at the State Arboretum of Virginia offers a new experiential way to access its extensive grounds. The Audio Trail app, made in partnership with UniGuide, is available for free and features 11 separate stops that highlight wildlife, gardens, and history. Download before exploring the grounds or simply listen from wherever you are.


This article originally appeared in our Best of Virginia 2019 issue.

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