The app is set to debut at the Kingsport Earth Day celebration taking place April 20. When it is unveiled, it will be the first of its kind in Tennessee, according to the app’s creator, Kollin Day.
The app is designed to teach children about the importance of stormwater issues, such as runoff and outfall. Children will play a scavenger-type game while walking along the Greenbelt, and the game features a cartoon water drop named “Stormy.”
“I have four kids of my own,” Day said. “Everything I create or everything I’ve ever done has been based on my own kids and what I would download for my own kids.”
The app is being used as an outreach tool, required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Environmental Protection Agency. In the past, brochures were used as an outreach tool, but Day had a different idea for outreach, so he proposed development of the app. TDEC and the city of Kingsport were excited about the idea and green-lighted the project.
Development took about six months, Day said. He came up with the concept of a scavenger game after he walked along the Greenbelt looking for outfalls. He also got the idea from a previous app he created.
“As far as coming up with an app idea, a lot of times it evolves over time,” Day said. “You get a concept first on how you can engage the kids and that’s always my baseline.”
The point of the game is for kids to find 10 outfalls, out of 25, along the Greenbelt. Signs will be located at the outfalls that will have QR codes. Once the QR codes are scanned with a smartphone, a message will appear on the phone with an explanation. A QR scanner will be included with the app.
When the child has found 10, he or she will officially become a “water protector.” Prizes will also be given out when 10 signs are scanned. The prizes change every week and the game can be played as many times as the person wants.
The city of Kingsport will be partnering with local businesses to give out prizes.
Day thinks the app will encourage kids to get out and explore nature while also playing a fun game. “Stormy” has already been making visits to local schools to promote water awareness.
The app will be available for both iOS and Android systems. It can be downloaded for free at either the Apple app store or the Google app store.