Chimani receives the Corporate Stewardship Award

Chimani receives the Corporate Stewardship Award and Honorable Mention for Innovative Product of the Year at the 2017 Public Land Alliance Conference

We are proud to announce that Chimani received the Corporate Stewardship Award and Honorable Mention for Innovative Product of the Year at the Public Land Alliance Convention on February 15, 2017 in Arlington, VA. The award is the result of Chimani’s development of a mobile version of the Acadia Quest game which was built into the Acadia National Park app by Chimani. Other recipients of the Corporate Stewardship Award included American Express, REI, and Coleman.

The Public Land Alliance holds a yearly conference to bring together land management organizations, nonprofits, and businesses associated with America’s public lands to educate, share best practices, and develop partnerships that will help strengthen their shared missions of promoting stewardship and protection of these great spaces.

Last summer, in honor of the Acadia’s centennial, Chimani and Friends of Acadia partnered together to create a location-based, in-park “gaming” experience on a mobile device available on the Chimani app. The Acadia Quest game hosts a series of experiences in Acadia National Park that encourage youth and families to explore, learn, and protect national parks and other conserved lands. Teams who completed the quest earn prizes such as an annual Acadia park pass, or teams may donate their prize to a conservation project in Acadia. Friends of Acadia have been running the popular Acadia Quest program for nine years, but this was their first launch of it on an app.

Acadia Quest
Chimani and Friends of Acadia partner together to launch Acadia Quest on Chimani’s mobile app.

“All of us at Friends of Acadia congratulate Chimani on the national recognition received through these well-deserved awards – and we are grateful for their continued partnership in encouraging more families and kids to explore and connect with their national park through our Acadia Quest program, “ said Friends of Acadia, president David MacDonald. “Chimani’s role in helping us to offer a digital version of Acadia Quest through their app resulted in more participants than ever.”

Kerry Gallivan, Founder and CEO of Chimani, accepted the award in partnership with David MacDonald, President of Friends of Acadia, Kevin Schneider, Superintendent of Acadia National Park, and Ed Samek, Chairman of the Board of Friends of Acadia.

“We are honored to receive this award, “ said Gallivan. “Our mission is to enhance the national park experience for visitors, and the Acadia Quest game was a great way to get families and friends out and about to unique areas of the park. We were thrilled by the game’s success and that it was able to generate 25,000 check-ins with the Acadia Quest program.”

Daughter of the Everglades Squatter

I never thought I’d go back to the Everglades, but last Monday, I found myself looking at a brisk Florida sky and two kids who needed something to do.  “We want to see Manatees,” they said, “Manttatees?” I’d said, a life -long mispronouncer of words that my husband lovingly calls Mandyisms.

“Mannnnateees, Mom,” said my daughter “Think about a man having tea when you say it.”

I’d spent a portion of my childhood in the Florida Everglades, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back.  We’d come down to the Florida Keys, from Maine, for a long weekend to escape the cold and do some snorkel trips but the temps in the 60s had made underwater exploration kind of like dabbling in hypothermia.

Life in Maine, in the winter, can get kind of small. We were all craving outdoor adventure, the feel of sunshine on our skin. Plus I’d just recently started working for Chimani and I had not actually had the opportunity to try our National Park Guide apps out in the field. So, going to the Everglades seemed like a win-win.

I grew up in New England, but there was an earlier part of my life when I was a flip flop kid in Florida who played with red ant holes in a burned out back yard like preppy kids play with golden retrievers.

My parents divorced when I was young and my mom moved to Connecticut while my dad stayed in Florida where I’d been born.  For years I went and visited my dad in various apartments around the Delray area. But then, when I was in 7th grade he packed up all his worldly possessions into his VW wagon and took off for the Everglades, where he became, the first and to my recollection, the only, established squatter. He lived there for almost 30 years. Yup, that’s right, my dad was the Everglades hermit.

So, while my friends with divorced parents spent holidays skiing with their dads in Vail, I went to Florida, to an outpost island called Lulu, where my dad had a village of tents, fire pits, and camp chairs. Somehow he’d gotten our old yellow patio table out to the island by canoe, so dinner was always kind of a formal event.

Mandy Ward Davis and Mike Ward 1986
Mandy Ward Davis and Mike Ward 1986

There’s no other place on earth like the Everglades. It is a unique interdependent series of ecosystems, swamps, mangrove forests, islands, and a dense wild habitat for marine life, bird, and mammals. At a glance, it is static and unimpressive, but if you sit there, quiet your breath, and patiently watch, you will see the entire glade is wildly alive.

*      *    *

Still, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back. Though my dad was an interesting character, no one ends up living alone on an island without a reason. I’m not sure whether my dad had moved to the Everglades to remove himself from society, or society had asked him to leave. I’m guessing it was the latter. I do know his three wives had all showed him the door.

We’d spend days canoeing amongst the mangroves, him pointing out all sorts of marine life and birds. Through vast amounts of silence and alone time, he’d become like an Audubon field guide, he knew everything. In the heat of the afternoon, he’d sit in the shade of his camp and sketch birds he’s seen by memory.

It took my family an hour from Key Largo to get to the  Royal Palms Visitor Center and then another five minutes or so to the Anhinga Trail. We parked the car next to rows of vehicles covered with tarps. We assumed that these were day trippers keeping picnic coolers shaded, but we soon saw a sign over a pile of tarps warning us to cover our car so that they would not be attacked by vultures. For my family, this kind of sign was a definite indicator of a great day. And no we did not go back and cover our rental car.

We came across our first alligator about 12 steps from the bathroom on the Anhinga trail. Surprise and fear traveled through my body as I and remembered every alligator/crocodile movie ever made. I was relieved that there was a low stone wall separating us from the gator. My kids took pictures, angling selfies so the alligator could be seen behind their faces.  I smiled nervously. An older woman passed me, “Oh you haven’t seen anything yet.” We continued down the trail and I was dismayed to see that the stone wall completely disappeared. We were just out in nature with alligators, a lot of alligators, like alligators literally everywhere. At times there were so many they were stacked up on top of one and another.

Maisy and Calder and some Gators
Maisy and Calder and some Gators

Thankfully the swamps that lined our trail were loaded with fish, so the alligators seemed full and a bit sleepy, but still every time my husband placed his hand on my back or touched my arm to point out something, I shrieked as if being attacked.

My kids, clearly never saw any bad gator movies and they were enthralled stretching their bodies practically into the mouths of the gators to get pictures.

Honestly, I was a little lost and kept thinking about my dad, what kind of man decides to live here? What kind of dad brings his 12-year-old daughter out here to sleep solo in a tent surrounded by gators?

Alligator Yawn?
Alligator Yawn?

After leaving the Anhinga Trail we drove another 45 minutes into the park to Flamingo Station where you can rent kayaks. We arrived at 2:56, 4 minutes before the rentals close. The boat guides were pretty laid back though and not overly concerned with us getting back quickly. They set us off down a man-made canal that was pretty good for seeing manatees. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed, a man-made canal felt sort of like a ride a Disney World. In the car, I had imagined paddling my way through tight jungles of mangroves, pythons swinging out of branches, toucans flying over my head. This was pretty tame.

We paddled for about 15 minutes before we saw our first manatee. The sun was warm on our shoulders, the water brown like coffee, wood storks and roseate spoonbills, larger than my children, swaying heavily in the tops of thin trees. My husband spotted the manatee first. With a wave and shush sign, we all paddled towards him and there in the shallow banks was a large whale-like manatee chewing on the roots of the mangroves. Its size was breathtaking, it’s peaceful nature majestic. To our left two more manatees floated to the surface, sighed, then swam under our boats and settled a little farther down the canal to continue eating.

None of us could speak. We were in awe and simultaneously reminded that the word is filled with wonder.

And in that moment, the gentle sway of the water below my boat, I understood, why a man might leave society and choose to live in the wild.

Flamingo Station Canal
Flamingo Station Canal

Reflecting On The Women’s March On Washington

Mandy Davis
Director of Operations
Chimani
Jan 24, 2017

When I think of National Parks, I think of wide-open spaces, big blue skies, and the smell of pine, or sage, or campfire smoke. There’s always a feeling I get when I enter a national park and get out on a trail, a calmness, a solitude, a full body contentment. At home, in Maine, this feeling goes dormant for a while after each trip, then wakes, becomes a longing, an itch, and then the  obsessive need that sets me into planning for my family’s next trip.

maisymandy-marchSo this weekend, Jan 21st, I went to the national park in our country’s capital, to March for Women’s Rights, with my mom, my daughter, and my best friend, I did not think about how I was traveling to a national park, this was political, this was a stance. I don’t know the smell of Washington, but I was pretty sure it was not sage or campfire smoke. We drove from Maine to CT, where we met my mom, and then got on a bus at 1:00 am to head to DC. Eight hours later we were dropped off in a stadium parking lot of 4000 buses, disoriented and tired. We followed small pods of people who looked like they knew what they were doing. Occasionally, we pulled at a map that we were all too tired to comprehend. The closer we got to the capital, the thicker the streets got with people. Small pods grew into clusters, and clusters into crowds. People held onto scarves and jackets to stay together,  but it was almost impossible. The empty spaces between us disappeared. With no formal beginning or location, we merged and became a March.

maisymarchI hate crowds and I’m a bit of a claustrophobic, so my immediate response to these situations is anxiety and irritation. But as the sea of pink hats swept by our Nation’s Capital, I felt none of that. I held hands with my little rock star mama and watched my strong, beautiful daughter take photos, her teenage face filled with wonderment and wisdom. I felt that overwhelming contentment, that solitude, that familiar feeling of peace and awe. Like driving into Arches National Park for the first time, when you traverse that entrance road, climbing to an unknown summit, and then turn that corner to a world of towering red formations hollowed out by a sea that once moved across a desert. And then the reminder or the realization that we are so small, and the world is still such a great, and big, and magnificent place.

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-9-18-35-am

Canada’s National Parks Are Free In 2017! Grab Your Pass Here:

Jasper National Park | Photo: Scott Meis/CC by 2.0

Following the spectacular Centennial year of the National Park Service in the United States, Canada is celebrating its 150th Birthday by making all of its national parks completely free!

Banff National Park | Photo: James Wheeler/CC by 2.0That’s right, our neighbors to the north have a collection of natural wonders that rival any the world over, and are letting you see them for free for the entire year. You can even have a free park pass delivered to you by Parks Canada, the agency that oversees the countries national parks and historical sites.

Click here to get your free Canada National Parks pass for 2017!

Jasper National Park | Photo: Scott Meis/CC by 2.0
Jasper National Park | Photo: Scott Meis/CC by 2.0

Canada’s offering of national parks is a welcoming contrast to those in the United States, with many of these parks located in remote northern areas, some require more than just packing up the station wagon and hitting the road, but for those that are looking to get the auto-tour experience, they have that too.

Prince Edward Island National Park | Photo: Doug Kerr/CC by 2.0
Prince Edward Island National Park | Photo: Doug Kerr/CC by 2.0

Parks like Banff National Park and Jasper National Park in Alberta provide stunning vistas in the Canadian Rockies. In the northeast, Fundy National Park, Prince Edward Island National Park, and Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site can be reached by car when crossing the border from Maine into Canada; even Cape Breton National Park is accessible, if you’re not afraid of a serious road trip.

On the west coast, Pacific Rim National Park and Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada give contrasting tastes of the Canadian Pacific region and the Yukon Territory.

If you’re planning a visit north of the border, be sure to start with the Banff National Park app by Chimani, available for iOS and Android.

Harriet Tubman National Historic Park To Be Official Designated By President Obama

Source: Pocono Record

In the waning days of his presidency, one in which he cemented his legacy as the president whom has protected the largest amount of public land, President Barack Obama has signed the final documents to create the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park in Auburn, NY.

Harriet Tubman Home for aged | Photo: Lvklock/CC by 4.0
Harriet Tubman Home for aged | Photo: Lvklock/CC by 4.0

The new National Park Service unit will protect the site of Harriet Tubman’s former home in Auburn, as well as properties in the city of Auburn and town of Fleming in Cayuga County.

According to the Pocono Record, Congress approved the national park in December 2014 to honor Tubman, a former slave who became a leader of the Underground Railroad and led others on a path to freedom.

It is expected that US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will sign the final document, making the designation official, prior to President Obama leaving office.

“As a New Yorker and an American, I’m deeply proud to see Tubman Park finally become a reality,”U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said. “The Tubman Historic Park in Auburn will be a magnet for visitors that will tell the amazing story of Harriet Tubman’s life, an extraordinary American, and her story deserves to be shared with our children and grandchildren. This park will serve that solemn purpose and preserve her legacy for countless generations to come.”

Under the bill passed by Congress in 2014, national historical parks were authorized in Auburn and along the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where Tubman was born.

Schumer, the incoming Senate Democratic leader, last month asked the Interior Department to expedite the approval process. U.S. Rep. John Katko, R-Camillus, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., also supported the designation.

Chimani Featured in National Park Conservation Association’s Southwest Newsletter

Chimani has been featured in the National Park Conservation Association’s Southwest Winter Newsletter. The article, written by Chimani Marketing Manager Tom Tash, reflects on the significant impact an 8-day trip to 13 national parks had on him last summer.

npcabodyThe piece is titled “TECHNOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF THE PARK EXPERIENCE: An App Developer’s Journey through the Southwest” and goes on to say:

“Growing up outside of Acadia National Park, the significance of unspoiled landscapes, humbling vastness, and the everlasting struggle to protect these most basic natural elements was not lost on me.

As the Marketing Manager for national park app developer Chimani, I’m always considering how we can use technology to educate and inspire new national park enthusiasts. But in order to truly understand how to connect people to “America’s best idea,” I had to head West.

In June, I was sent to the Southwest to research 13 national parks in eight days. I was enthralled by the beauty of Joshua Tree and Death Valley, and the stunning red rock of Utah’s “Mighty Five.” I looked back in time at Grand Canyon, Petri ed Forest and Saguaro in Arizona. It was thrilling and exhausting, and would forever change my outlook on the urgency of protecting these brilliant places.

While my mission was to learn how to develop technology for addressing the future of visitation to the parks, it became clear to me that without increased efforts to educate the public on the issues that NPCA fights for every day, that the future of these places could never be guaranteed. I returned home feeling, as we all should, greater personal responsibility for their care.”

The newsletter can be found here.

Download the free national park apps by Chimani at http://chimani.com

It’s Smooth Sailing For Chimani Rocky Mountain National Park Brand Ambassador

Meet Chimani Rocky Mountain National Park Brand Ambassador Taylor Hartman:

Rocky Mountain National Park Ambassador Taylor Hartman
Rocky Mountain National Park Ambassador Taylor Hartman

In November, Chimani began working with Taylor Hartman, a Colorado transplant and Rocky Mountain National Park lover, as an ambassador for the Estes Park and national park region.

Taylor, who lives just 45 minutes from RMNP, spends much of her time hiking and spending time with her son in the park.

“I am a frequent visitor, usually 1-2 times per week, to Rocky Mountain National Park so I am very familiar with the area,” says Taylor.

Taylor Hartman with a Rocky Mountain National Park app by Chimani Download Card
Taylor Hartman with a Rocky Mountain National Park app by Chimani Download Card

When asked what draws her to the national parks, Taylor said “What draws me to the national parks is how we can enjoy the land in its untouched, natural state. I love visiting the national parks, especially Rocky Mountain because I am at complete peace when I am in the park. If I am stressed out about school or life, escaping to the park for the day puts everything at ease. I think it is so important that people get outside and visit their closest national park to learn more about the land and take in all of the vast beauty that nature has to offer.”

On how Taylor believes the Rocky Mountain National Park app by Chimani benefits park visitors, “Offering free travel guide apps helps the community and people coming from all around tremendously. Many will use the excuse of not knowing their way around the park as a reason to not visit. Having the free travel guide can show someone everything they want and need to know about the park. If someone is unsure about a hike the app will give them all the details, mileage, difficulty level, along with a map that outlines the complete hike. Free travel guide apps will bring more visitors into the park!”

Follow along with Taylor when she takes over Chimani’s Rocky Mountain National Park Instagram @RockyMountainNationalPark or on her personal page @tayhart24

Download the Free Rocky Mountain National Park app at https://www.chimani.com/#rockymountain.