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Post on 22-Mar-2016
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DESCRIPTIONA program to connect the environmental/ sustainability community in southeast Texas
THE TRAILHEADA online event + news sharing concept for the Environmental / Sustainability Community of Southeast TexasPrepared by Jaime Gonzlez, Community Education Director, Katy Prairie Conservancy
The Problem | In a time of shrinking budgets and media saturation environmental and sustainability groups in southeast Texas are working ever harder to get the word out about their events and news in a more efficient, less duplicative, and interconnected manner. Yet, event managers will often post the same event or news item on their home calendar and then on several different events calendars, websites, and or listserves - often by hand. This is wasteful in terms in terms of time, money, and lost opportunities for connecting our community, all of whom are working towards the same goal - a more sustainable, livable Houston-Galveston region. In other words, if we are all on the same team, then lets start communicating that way!
The Solution? | RSS feeds are an efficient, automated way to share information between platforms without duplicative typing. What if an online portal were engineered that would allow all environment/sustainability groups to post their events and news once (to the portal) and then these items could be retrieved automatically by any group (including the users group) that wanted to put them on their calendar or news feed? If participating institutions wanted to populate their own calendars they could simply subscribe to a feed from this portal. I call this portal concept The Trailhead. Much as a trailhead gives direction and context in the physical world, I think that an online resource like this will not only cut down on duplicative typing but will allow end users to sort and amalgamate events, news, etc. in a thematic manner giving topics deeper meaning, greater coverage, etc.
How would this Work? | See schematic below:
A user logs into Trailhead and types in event or news details from their home or office.
The users institutional calendar and/or news feed retrieves event or news information based on tag words. For example the calendar could retrieve all events tagged with the word hiking. Furthermore, all of the home institutions events or news would be retrieved because the user included his/her institutions unique tag with event. For instance a tag for Katy Prairie Conservancy could be KPC.
Other institutional calendars and news feeds could retrieve event or news information based on their own tag words criteria. For example one calendar may automatically retrieve all items tagged with the words hiking or canoeing or outdoor
WELCOME TO THE TRAILHEADA online event-sharing portal for the Environmental and Sustainability Community of Southeast Texas
Tags (please select all that apply
Institution Please select
Type of Item? News Event
Date Please select Time Please select
Location Please select
Sample Trailhead Online Portal
Who would use Trailhead?:| (1) Anyone looking to make their event and news information available to a broader community (2) those interested in amalgamating large numbers of events and/or data - particularly along thematic lines (3) those looking to cut down on posting items (4) those interested in keeping fresh content on their websites with little staffing time. Ideally this system would work with existing platforms such as Facebook, etc. ensuring that your group would hit high traffic websites as well.
What would this take to go forward?:| (1) buy in from the community (2) consensus on an approved list of tag words for both institutions and news/event item types (3) registration by user groups (4) A web designer to build the platform (5) training for end users and potential upgrades to end user equipment.
What The Trailhead is not:| The Trailhead would not replace everyones website. It would simply allow our websites to provide fresher, more up to date information will less staff time.
Possible upcoming applications:1. CEC Houston website2. Houston Wilderness website3. Houston -Gulf Coast Get Outdoors Website4. Houston Green Scene5. All other sustainability/environmental websites. Want to discuss?
Contact Jaime via e-mail or by phone 281.660.6683