Kenneth M. Klemow, Rachel Curtis, Andrew V. Velopolcak, Heather Washenko, Richard R. Kosik, Ryan J. Stetz and Zachary J. Wilson.  2008.  DEVELOPING A PODCAST NATURE GUIDE  FOR AN URBAN NATURAL AREA IN NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA.  Contributed poster: Ecological Society of America meeting. Abstract: Ecological Society of America Meeting Abstracts.

Background/Question/Methods: Visitors to hiking trails and other natural areas often have access to paper-based trail guides that provide information about the history and natural features found along the trail. While such paper-based guides are handy and informative, they can become outdated, need to be restocked when the supply is exhausted, and may become litter when discarded. The emergence of new technologies, especially associated with podcasting, provides an opportunity to replace paper trail guides with electronic versions that can be downloaded to an mp3 player. Over the past year, we developed a podcast guide to a hiking trail in the Kirby Park Natural Area, which is an 80-acre riparian urban forest in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The podcasts were created by undergraduate students at Wilkes University using GarageBand software on the Macintosh OS, and have been uploaded to Wilkes University's iTuneU website ( All podcasts are publicly available free of charge.

Results/Conclusions: The Kirby Park Natural Area podcast trail guide currently consists of twenty image-enhanced podcast episodes. Each episode focused on a single station along the trail or on a species of note. The podcasts cover a variety of ecological topics, including various habitat types found in the Kirby Park Natural Area, key ecological processes, and representative species of vascular plants and megafauna. The target audience includes secondary school students, undergraduates, and adult visitors to the park. The results of a user survey concerning the podcasts' effectiveness will also be presented and discussed. We believe that podcasting is highly adaptable and ideal to conveying ecological principles to broad audiences. This project can serve as a model to those who wish to develop podcast trail guides of their own.

This page posted and maintained by Kenneth M. Klemow, Ph.D., Biology Department, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766. (570) 408-4758,