Sanctuary Receives Grants for Interactive Signage

The Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary has received three grants to start an Interactive Interpretive Display project. The new computer-based signage will augment, rather than replace, the existing signs by the animal habitats.

  One of the screens for the interactive coyote display.

One of the screens for the interactive coyote display.

“Interactive displays will really enhance the visitor experience,” said Gary Robson, the Sanctuary’s Education Director, “and we wouldn’t have been able to start up the project without the support of the O. P. & W. E. Edwards Foundation, the Red Lodge Rotary Club, and the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation.”

  Assembling the development system, which uses a 7" touchscreen display with the Raspberry Pi 3B+ mounted on the back. In the background is a custom stand for mounting the system.

Assembling the development system, which uses a 7" touchscreen display with the Raspberry Pi 3B+ mounted on the back. In the background is a custom stand for mounting the system.

Over two thousand people each year — mostly children — participate in organized educational programs at the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary, and thousands more take self-guided tours. The goal of this project is to provide a more engaging way to present information about the animals to the self-guided visitors. The audio-visual format appeals to different kinds of learners, and children are more likely to engage with an interactive display than a static sign.

The displays will use touch screens, speakers, and Raspberry Pi computers to present the information. Visitors will be able to listen to animal calls, view dynamic range maps, learn to tell related species apart, and more. All of the programming, graphics, and design will be done by the existing Education Department staff and volunteers (mostly by Robson).

The grant money received so far will purchase the development system and the equipment for the first display, which will go in the viewing cabana for the coyote habitat.

2018-07-15 IIDP coyote.jpg

“A huge advantage of interactive electronic displays is that they can be reprogrammed and repurposed,” Robson added, “where printed signs end up being discarded. Electronic displays can also be updated quickly, easily, and cheaply when something changes, like a new animal being added. We are looking for approximately $4,000 in additional funding to expand the project to other habitats around the Sanctuary, which will require waterproof housings and additional electrical wiring.”

  A functioning demo of the coyote sign, using the small demo screen.

A functioning demo of the coyote sign, using the small demo screen.

For additional information about the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary’s Interactive Interpretive Display Project please contact Gary Robson at 406/446-1133 or Gary@YellowstoneWildlife.org.

  A map of the top-level screens of the coyote sign.

A map of the top-level screens of the coyote sign.