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Hey, who spruced up this place?

by on July 29, 2012

Photo by D.H. Parks

Welcome to the new BayNature.org! We’ve just relaunched this site in a big way, and we’re pretty excited about what you’ll find here:

On a personal note, I first developed the creative brief for a new online trailfinder back in 2009. So this project is the culmination of more than two years of planning, fundraising, and, lately, lots of data wrangling, coding, and debugging. But what I’m most excited about is how the new BayNature.org propels us further in the direction of deep collaboration with the community of people and organization dedicated to exploring and stewarding the rich natural heritage of the Bay Area.

After more than a year of fundraising and mulling different approaches and software packages, we had a revelation in late 2011 that the best way forward was to work with some of our closest friends.

Our good friends at the Bay Area Open Space Council had already created TransitandTrails.org. How could we help build on that? Ken-ichi Ueda, a very creative local photographer, programmer, and naturalist, had recently built iNaturalist.org to help folks record and identify wildlife sightings. That’s our kind of thing!

And we at Bay Nature have amassed an unmatched archive of stories on local nature. (I can tell you from direct recent experience of switching from our old content management system to WordPress that we have 2,457 photos, 1,390 articles, 58 videos, 47 issues, 21 special sections — all created with the help of about 270 authors and two or three times that many photographers.)

So, we thought, what if the new BayNature.org brought all those threads together and invited your participation with reviews of parks and hikes and comments on our posts, articles, and videos? Even better, if you’re an ardent trail user, we’d love to have you on board as a Trailblazer! (Did I mention that the Trailblazer who logs the most new trails into our system in the next three months wins a cool REI backback?)

One thing I love about the new site is that we can actually showcase more than ever the work of the many people who make Bay Nature happen — people like Jules Evens or Joan Hamilton, who’ve done amazing work for Bay Nature over the years. And new friends like Corinne DeBra, who is walking the entire Bay Trail, for the second time. We’ll have some of her hikes on the Trailfinder soon.

And I can’t close without a shoutout to our developers at Identified Media, Kemper Barkhurst and James Kassemi, two masters of WordPress and MongoDB and lots of other things (ping me in the comments if you want to geek out about the five APIs that help make all this work!), and our friends at TransitandTrails.org — Ryan Branciforte and Jereme Monteau — and Ken-ichi Ueda at iNaturalist.org. And the S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, for funding this effort, and Clif Bar & Company, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the Regional Parks Foundation for coming on as charter sponsors.

We’ll be expanding our online content to fit our new home, and making more improvements to the site as well—including a mobile-friendly version in the coming months.

So, welcome to the new BayNature.org. Get your nature news. Leave your comments (down there at the bottom of most every page). Find some new favorite trails. And then let us know about it!

Thanks for visiting.

—Dan Rademacher, Editorial Director

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Mia on July 30th, 2012 at 9:23 am

I’ve been a fan of Bay Nature for a long time and I have to say the site now looks equal to the gorgeous magazine. Congratulations to Dan and the whole Bay Nature team!

Dan Rademacher on July 30th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Thanks, Mia!

Victoria on July 31st, 2012 at 8:39 pm

This is an amazing feat! Congratulations Dan & the Bay Nature crew! I can’t wait to begin using all of the new features of the site as a hub to my Bay Area outdoor exploring.

Dan Rademacher on July 31st, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Thanks, Victoria!

Barbara C. on August 7th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I’ve just been on an adventure, exploring the new website and I am so impressed by the depth of resources you have made available! Each item, event, map and article opens a world of information at my fingertips and satisfies my curious mind. I’m inspired to get outdoors to experience all I’ve discovered!

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