The Virtual Trillium Trail is a realistic educational simulation of the North American Forest built on high-end computer game technology and used as a virtual field trip to enhance real world field trips. Ideally used both before and after a trip to any deciduous parkland, it more than doubles learning gains.
Artist and scientist, Maria C.R. Harrington, created this high-fidelity, 3D, interactive, educational computer game as a scientific visualization of a real park, for exploration, discovery and learning. Children may choose a hawk or deer avatar to become, then immersed in imaginary play, explore the forest and learn. Learning becomes intrinsically rewarding, thus providing motivation to play without money or points. This platform offers a natural, spontaneous and emergent gameplay experience that ignites imagination, results in learning, and can be used by parents, teachers, and educators to support real world activities, not replace them.
Children who played this game were inspired to create their own scientifically accurate virtual forests. Playing this game supports scientific inquiry and creativity, inspiring children to, “learn to create and create to learn.” Playing this game promotes a sense of awe and wonder, curiosity, beauty, and a desire to share, thus supporting a child’s connection with nature and in becoming environmental stewards.