Mother of Three Launches First Social Networking Site For Young Environmentalists Habitat Heroes™ Helps Web-Savvy Kids Save the
Posted Jul 29 2009 10:07pm
New York, NY—April 8 2009—Habitat Heroes™ (www.HabitatHeroes.com), the first global, social networking web site for young eco-warriors, will launch in time for Earth Day on April 22. Sharon Lowe, an Australian mother of three, created Habitat Heroes™ after observing her daughter’s online play. She had a desire to create an entertaining, yet worthwhile destination for children seeking to learn more about the earth, conservation, and preservation. Lowe developed the site with the assistance of a top-notch panel of environmental experts.
“The core of Habitat Heroes™ was formed around values my husband and I wish to instill in our children,” said Sharon Lowe, founder of Habitat Heroes™. “Treating other living creatures, and our planet, with respect is of the utmost importance to us. Since computers are part of our children’s lives beginning at such a young age, I wanted to create an online destination where children could learn about these fundamentally important issues through things they enjoy, such as games and activities.”
Habitat Heroes™ is an interactive web destination where children can adopt an animal from an endangered species, and create a life for it, while also playing games, reading fun facts about the planet, and communicating with other young environmentalists. Children select and personalize animal avatars to represent them on the site, and decorate the habitats where their avatars live. The number of avatars for a specific species on the site corresponds to the number of members of that species existing in the real world. For instance, only 3600 members who sign-up can choose the black rhinoceros as their avatar, corresponding to the 3600 black rhinoceros in existence. The site will introduce a new endangered species once the old one is retired.
One of Habitat Heroes™ primary goals is to bring young environmentalists from around the globe together so that they can share their ideas for saving the planet. Animal avatars looking to socialize, or share their thoughts on the environment, can make friends at the local “Watering Hole” and communicate with them via chat boxes. Safety features have been built into the site and online chats are closely monitored. Parents also have the option to limit use of this function or any other aspect of the site.
“As a mother, I make sure that everything my children do online is safe and worthwhile,” added Lowe. “I envision Habitat Heroes™ as an online destination where any child can have a truly engaging experience,” said Lowe.
On Habitat Heroes™, children can explore different continents and learn about environmental issues by touring a virtual map. Each continent also has its own games. Water Wheel is a game based on the real-life work of PlayPumps International, an organization that constructs merry-go-round water pumps for communities in sub-Saharan Africa. In this game, players virtually construct an irrigation system in an African village. In another game, located in India, Connectastrophe, children can explore and learn about natural disasters.
The games focus specifically on giving back to the planet, and children earn “creature cash,” or currency, for resolving unique environmental challenges that can then be spent at food, clothing, and other shops on the site. Since “creature cash” can be earned only in this manner, children learn that if they would like to reap the fun rewards of eating sushi and dressing their avatar in new clothing, they must complete a task that benefits the environment first.
In addition to traditional environmental concerns, Habitat Heroes™ also informs children about healthy eating and global cultures. Kids learn to make proper food choices at Scoops & Sprinkles, where they can assemble healthy frozen yogurt desserts, or by feeding their avatars sashimi and salads at the Chow House. They can learn about Indian heritage by playing dress-up with traditional saris and jewelry at the Sari Salon. These additional elements allow children to feel a connection – both social and geographic – with other world communities facing difficult environmental challenges.
Beyond the interactive features of the site, children can visit Habitat Heroes™ to find out more about environmental organizations as well as their favorite celebrity environmentalists and the causes that most interest them. Habitat Heroes™ currently houses videos of the cast of the new Disney XD TV Show “Aaron Stone,” discussing their efforts to preserve the planet. Additionally, in honor of Earth Day, a new mini-movie featuring one of the site’s signature characters has recently debuted on the site. Habitat Heroes™ also includes information on the organizations that assisted in the site’s content development including PlayPumps International and The Art of Elysium.
About Habitat Heroes™ Creator Sharon Lowe developed Habitat Heroes™ with the assistance of a panel of environmental experts. Money raised by Habitat Heroes™ is donated to environmental charities including Global Green U.S.A., PlayPumps International and The Climate Project.
Habitat Heroes is targeted towards children ages 6 to 14 and registration is free. To learn more, or to join, parents can visit www.HabitatHeroes.com.