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SLOcally created app makes data collection easier for consulting firms

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June 15 marked the apex of the nonprofit group Outdoor Afro’s climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. At 19,340 feet, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest freestanding mountain in the world. The climbers tackling the expedition are members of an Oakland-based national nonprofit organization that celebrates and inspires African-American connections and leadership in nature.

DOING WHAT YOU LOVE Kristen Hazard, CEO of Wildnote, has created a company and a team of people who enjoy working together and collaborating with clients who love their work. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WILDNOTE
  • Photo Courtesy Of Wildnote
  • DOING WHAT YOU LOVE Kristen Hazard, CEO of Wildnote, has created a company and a team of people who enjoy working together and collaborating with clients who love their work.

To record their journey, the group used a digital platform on their mobile devices created by Wildnote, a San Luis Obispo-based company. Wildnote CEO Kristen Hazard said this cloud-based application is really focused on environmental consultants, regulatory agencies, cultural resource management firms, academia, and other industries that require data collection.

“We have really focused on biologists and botanists. It’s ecological restoration, and it’s a very niche environmental focused app,” Hazard said.

The application can be accessed from any mobile device such as a tablet or a cellphone. Consulting firms have the power to create their own personalized document to collect data with. The app features tools such as voice texting, photo taking, longitude and latitude tagging, the ability to use the application offline, and the ability to download all the information collected into a formatted PDF file. All the information collected on-site is placed in one document ready to be synced when the user is back in a WiFi zone.

Currently, Wildnote has 242 subscribers from 15 different companies that utilize the online tool. This company is something that Hazard didn’t see herself creating years ago, although even as a child, she explained, she knew she loved nature. Fast-forward to 2010 and Hazard built a consulting firm in San Luis Obispo because she loved the area and wanted to live here. Four years later, she partnered with Terra Verde Environmental Consulting to build an environmental-compliance reporting app for PG&E.

“The project was so successful with PG&E that I realized, well, I can build a generalized app for not just PG&E but for all biologists, botanists, natural resource managers, all people who go out in the field, and that’s how Wildnote was born,” she said.

The company ties together two things that Hazard really enjoys: nature and eccentric people. When she was running her consulting company in 2010, she was also studying entrepreneurship. She heard a piece of advice that she took to heart: Build a product for people you want to hang out with.

“I really like the biologists, the desert tortoise people, the moth people. They’re super smart, super kooky, they love nature, and they love what they do,” Hazard said.

The interesting thing that Hazard and her team have encountered is that many businesses are still wrapping their heads around taking away the pencil-to-paper concept when collecting data out in the field. Brandon Jones, who’s in charge of business development for Wildnote, said the digital age isn’t stopping, and when it comes to data collecting, it’s more efficient to use a tool like theirs.

“It’s the same with digital technology and with our environment niche. These companies have to adapt. If they don’t adapt they won’t be competitive. They’ll be left behind because this is all about the bidding process. These companies have to bid for work, so they have to be efficient,” Jones said.

To learn more about the application or Wildnote visit wildnoteapp.com.

Fast fact

The Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo presented 14 local high school graduates with scholarships to support their future academic endeavors. The scholarships totaled $36,000 awarded to local students. The goal of the Rotary Club’s scholarship program is to help students focus less on financial challenges and more on advancing their learning. Recipients were graduates from San Luis Obispo High School, Pacific Beach High School, and SLO County Independent Living Program. The scholarship program is made possible because of the fundraising efforts of club members and the generosity of the community. To learn more about the club, its efforts, or how to get involved, visit slorotary.org. ∆

Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send tidbits to strokes@newtimesslo.com.

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