by Holly Fink, Ruckus Media Staff Marketing Consultant
One of the best parts of developing our new Rainforest Survival Challenge App is getting to know our partners at Stepping Stones Museum for Children (located in Norwalk, CT) and Rainforest Alliance. We are thrilled to be involved with these two important educators and advocates.
We’ve decided to feature information about each organization in the upcoming week. First we sat down with Kim Kuta from Stepping Stones. Kim is the museum’s Director of Evaluation and Grant Research. Kim was integral in the development of our new app and has a lot of knowledge about the Rainforest Adventure exhibit, which leaves the museum to tour the country next week. She was able to utilize this knowledge in the creation of the app which we’re all very proud of.
Ruckus: Can you give us a brief overview of Stepping Stones?
Kim: At Stepping Stones, play is serious business! Our mission is to broaden and enrich the educational opportunities for children ages ten and under and to enhance their understanding of the world. We thrive on building strong community collaborations and creating experiences that inspire life long learning.
Ruckus: Tell us a little bit more about Rainforest Adventure. How is it interactive? How do the kids learn (without even knowing they’re learning?)
Kim: Rainforest Adventure is a multi-sensory exhibit that introduces children to tropical rainforests around the world. Through creative, imaginative and graphically clever design elements, children can experience the challenges facing these unique ecological wonders and learn that people of all ages can make a difference. Children can role-play as researcher assistants, put on research vests, use binoculars, climb a kapok tree, crawl through a fallen log and explore four different rainforest regions around the world. They can search for animals, colors and familiar objects from rainforest cultures; study a gorilla nest, explore plant life in the layers of the rainforest; weave on a traditional weaving loom and discover products that come from the rainforest—all just by playing and having fun. The exhibit also introduces visitors to children who live in rainforests around the world and shows them how rainforest children and their families help protect the rainforests
Ruckus: What if our readers are outside of CT and the greater NYC area – how can they enjoy the exhibit?
Kim: Rainforest Adventure will be leaving Stepping Stones Museum for Children in May 2011 to embark on a national tour. The first stop will be at the Crown Center in Kansas City, MO until September 2011 where it will then travel to the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul until December 2011.
Ruckus: What kinds of resources do you have for families and teachers? Are there additional materials that would help a teacher round out their curriculum?
Kim: The Family and Teacher Resource Center contains books, periodicals, online resources, games and apps. It’s open any time the museum is open and is a great way for families and teachers to explore a variety of topics and activities. Visit in person at the museum or check out the resources online. Our staff members will help teachers locate materials and activities to fit their curriculum needs. The museum also offers plant and animal workshops for schools.
Ruckus: If fans of our app are looking for more materials and ways to learn about/engage in rainforest activities, do you have online resources to give them extra information/activities?
Kim: We created this exhibit with the Rainforest Alliance—they are an excellent resource for all things related to rainforests. Fans can also visit the Stepping Stones Family and Teacher Resource Center page (online) or call/visit to speak with a staff member.
Rainforest Survival Challenge is currently available on Apple's iTunes app store for only $0.99 until Sunday. A portion of the proceeds from app sales will go to support education initiatives at Rainforest Alliance and Stepping Stones Museum for Children.