Ridgewood high school students get creative with community app

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley visited seniors at Grover Cleveland High School to discuss ideas for the Forest Park app they are working on.
Photo courtesy Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s office

Want to know more about Forest Park? There’s an app for that on the way.

The seniors in the Android App Development class at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood are working together to create an app that will help bring the community together, focusing on Forest Park and the surrounding areas.

The app will serve as a community guidebook, sharing information on park access, events, amenities and the cemeteries adjoining Forest Park within Council District 30. It will also help build and connect communities within Queens.

Recently the students went on a bus tour to some of the project’s community partners — which are sites that the app will cover — including the Forest Park Trust, Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society, Ridgewood Reservoir, Highland Park Alliance, the Queens Historical Society and the Department of Parks and Recreation, among others.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who came up with the idea for the app and is one of the project’s civic partners, joined the students at Grover Cleveland High School to brainstorm ideas for the apps.

The class of about 25 students was broken into groups of three, each tasked to come up with two ideas for the app. Crowley met with each group of students to hear their ideas and helped flesh them out a little more.

“We wanted to develop this app so that people both in and out of our community can really see what Forest Park and what our neighborhoods have to offer,” Crowley said. “Whether residents have lived here for 50 years or five months, so often they are unaware of what is right in their backyard. This app could change that.”

Some of the ideas the students came up with include a jogging around the reservoir section, including logs of participants’ running times each day that can be broken down into age groups; an earth science section for middle and high school science students, including the locations of lakes, hills and animals in the area; and a geology section, allowing users to add their own nature pictures and virtual labs for students.

The app could even feature a tour guide section to provide the history of park, specific locations and attractions at the park, as well as events going on; a cemetery section to give a history on who is buried at there, cultural information and walking paths; and information on attractions in the park, including hiking trails, fields and the carousel.

Now that the students have come up with the ideas for the app, they will work in the class to develop and create them. Later, the students will present the app to community and civic partners at a civic forum event. They will then update and polish the app using the feedback from the forum event.

“This work for the students is incredible — the IT experience they get here will take them so far into the digital world we are quickly headed into, and their innovative ideas will benefit the greater community for years and years to come,” Crowley said.

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