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Blandford Nature Center


Telling a Great Story

CK and CO has worked with Blandford Nature Center for many years to create engaging stories, promote the organization, and raise funds for their capital campaigns. We also produced a full-length documentary on Mary Jane Dockery, the renowned geologist and naturalist who founded the Blandford Nature Center and Environmental Education Center and was also inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. Recently, CK and CO completed an exciting project with Blandford to help in-person and virtual visitors enjoy this amazing community resource.



The Client

The mission of the Blandford Nature Center is to “engage and empower our community through enriching experiences in nature.”  Visitors can hike trails and explore the grounds year-round. There is also a working farm, a historical village, educational programs, and several events throughout the year. Working in collaboration with the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, Blandford Nature Center transformed a former golf course, The Highlands, into an urban natural area that attracts new visitors every day.

The Challenge

Blandford wanted to find a fun, convenient way for visitors to explore their trails, without having to sign-up for a tour. Most of the 100,000 annual visitors walk the trails without an educator and they miss hearing stories about nature and points of interest. In addition, the historic buildings on the grounds are not open daily.

The Solution

Blandford reached out to CK and CO to help them create an interactive and mobile-friendly map to navigate the property. To make each stop a bit more interactive, CK and CO produced a series of videos for various points of interest. The videos were created for each season, from the Mother Maple Wolf Tree to the Log Cabin and the Sugar House. Nature Center volunteers and staff stepped in front of the camera to give an up-close look at the points of interest.

Next, came the map development. CK and CO Senior Graphic Designer, John Cuevas, researched a variety of available platforms to find the best and most cost-effective solution. “There are lots of options for interactive software, but we wanted the best user experience,” Cuevas explained. “It took some digging and experimenting to find the right one.”

Cuevas created and programmed the map and Blandford placed QR code symbols at the select points of interest around the property.

The Result

Blandford Nature Center recently launched the virtual map, and you should check it out!  There are videos, photos, and tons of interesting information to explore. The map does not need to be downloaded to be viewed and, because it’s digital, it will help conserve natural resources. Blandford’s favorite feature following this project is the “blue dot” GPS capability, which “can be turned on when using the map on your mobile phone, so you can roam all 264 acres knowing exactly where you are.”

The Takeaway

Virtual video tours can be an effective way to show off your facility or location and there are many benefits. Your “tour guides” do not have to be constantly available and can accomplish other work, and visitors can tour when it’s convenient for them, at their own pace. Videos can be adjusted for a season or show off changing points of interest.

Once the videos are created you don’t need proprietary software. There are many available options, but each has different features. We can help research and recommend the one best for your needs. The Blandford Nature Center was pleased with the results and said, “We’d like to send a big thank you to the experts at Cynthia Kay & Company for their work putting this resource together!”

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