New virtual technology allows people to learn about world’s largest wildlife crossing being built in Conejo Valley

Gary Gerber has a front row seat when history is made. He lives at the east end of the Conejo Valley, off Highway 101 near Liberty Canyon.

Construction is underway there for what will be the largest wildlife crossing in the world. “I think it’s really exciting, it’s really great,” said Gerber. “The animals deserve it.”

The three-year, $92 million project will allow wildlife to cross 101 and travel safely between two critical habitats in Southern California: the Santa Monica Mountains and the Simi Hills.

While Gerber can almost look out the window of his home to see the work, state-of-the-art technology is being used to allow people to follow the project and learn more about the wildlife.

Augmented reality company inCitu allows you to hold up a smartphone equipped with their app to see what the finished project will look like. It overlays the final product over what is there now. And,

Snapchat has a version that lets you see what the project will look like. You can also use it at home to learn more about the project and the wildlife it will help.

“In this project, you can see the actual structure,” said Dana Chermish, inCitu Founder and CEO. “You can see it on site or interact with it off-site if it’s an augmented reality view that you can play with.” There’s also animated information about the different animals being helped by the project. It is available via the inCitu app.

“Lenses are a really interactive way to learn something new,” Cassie Kling told Snapchat. “With this new wildlife crossing lens, people can explore what the bridge will look like and learn more about the importance of biodiversity and genetic diversity.”

And what the National Wildlife Federation is particularly excited about is that the augmented reality project could connect younger audiences to nature.

Jasson Crockett is Snapchat’s Local Public Policy Manager. “There’s a whole universe of Snapchat users that we think will be able to tap into this and engage with learning about biodiversity in a whole new way,” Crockett said.

But here at the Liberty Canyon crossing point, you don’t need augmented reality to see that work is underway.

Michael Comeaux is with Caltrans. He said crews were working the mid-middle section of Highway 101 in the Liberty Canyon area, preparing conditions for the addition of support structures for the traverse. After that, they will build structures on the south and north sides of the highway, which will be the supports for the intersection structure.

The National Wildlife Federation ran a major fundraiser to fund the project. The price is now at $92 million.

The goal is to raise $105 million to fund projects needed for the crossing, such as B. to fund the cultivation of native plants, as well as more mountain lion research.

More than $98 million has been raised and more big donations are expected to be announced at the Save LA Cougars’ annual celebration this Saturday at Griffth Park.