This project will be a partnership between the Memorial University community, Heritage NL and the Newfoundland & Labrador School Board that will consider how the Botanical Garden in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, can be an innovative site for cultural nature stories designed specifically for children. These stories will be combined with mobile devices using innovative, digitally-augmented story-crafting technology. The stories will focus on land-based learning and will encompass NL fairylore and augmented technologies, providing an animated and interactive means to immerse children in solving ecological issues.
This project will embrace NL’s cultural heritage by utilizing NL fairylore stories to allow children to explore existing fairylore literature, create their own stories, and work within augmented reality settings to create a garden of stories. The existing stories include tales of transportation to the fairy realm, stories of conservation and cultivation of the natural landscape, and descriptions of protections against the mischievous nature of fairies. Instead of presenting the natural world and NL fairylore to children as something to learn about, the emphasis is on stimulating children’s natural curiosity, and creating experiential and immersive outdoor engagement through nature stories and Newfoundland’s intangible cultural heritage, allowing them to craft and communicate their own place stories.
The augmented reality application MyArJulle (http://myar.community/julle/) will allow children to project an immersive rendering of a fairy into the physical environment, managing its appearance and position. This aesthetically engaging app will foster children’s playful and multimodal engagement with the NL landscape. Through the use of the app, children will communicate and reflect on their stories and create a space for collective ecological imagination and place-based storytelling. This project will incorporate Froebelian storytelling methodology, a form of place-based storytelling that allows children to tell stories through play.
The primary goals of the project are to A) provide economic support for the gardens through conversations that engage key stakeholders who use the Botanical Garden; B) explore how cultural heritage and traditional knowledge and storytelling can be experienced through augmented reality platforms; C) create experiences at the Botanical Garden that can be replicated in rural areas, and pre-schools in particular, to widen connections and experiences; and D) encourage children to play and learn in their own local environment. These goals will be achieved through collaboration between Indigenous communities and folklorists, who can create story-crafting experiences with children for public engagement, and address the need for more family programs for young children.
Faculty of Folklore