[Bristol-Birds] BBC recommended on BTN-16 local TV by Jeremy Stout

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 14:44:45 -0500

scene from BTN-16 (photo by Wallace Coffey)

 Among the significant advantages of living and birding in a metropolitan
 area are the major facilities, services and resources which benefit birders.

 This morning I tuned my TV to BTN-16, a city-owned cable channel
 which broadcasts programs produced by the City of Bristol Tennessee.

 Jeremy Stout, naturalist and staff member of the Steele Creek Park
 Nature Center, was featured in a program he regularly produces for
 the BTN-16 which is known as STEELE CREEK PARK EXPLORER.
 He produces it regularly with Scott Evans an employee of BTN-16.

 Jeremy was presenting a program on birds and birding in the 2,200+ acre 
 municipal park owned and operated by the city and completely surrounded
 by urban sprawl.  It is six miles in length and has 12 miles of boundary. The
 park is situated in the heart of the interior city and stretches from downtown
 near city hall and State Street to the Bristol Motor Speedway.  Along with
 Kingsport's 3,500 acre Bays Mountain Park, they are the largest city owned 
 municipal parks in the state of Tennessee. They are at the top of municipal 
 parks in the state as to size.  They both are among just a few fulltime nature 
 centers and  paid staffs in Tennessee.

 It was a nice surprise to hear Jeremy recommending that viewers look into the 
 Bristol Bird Club.....that he said is known for "catering to the interests and
 activity levels" of members.  He asked those who might have an interest
 to "checkout the Bristol Bird Club."

He led his audience
along a birding walk
over urban wilderness
trails near the dam at
the lake to watch grebes
and talk about them.
But you also enjoyed
other winter waterbirds
and those at park feeders.
It was notable that Jeremy
explained that more than 200 bird species have been recorded at Steele Creek.

The program had interesting approaches
such as leading into breaks with multiple-choice
questions about rare birds in the park and the
largest birds known at the park.  Viewers were
invited to answer the question for themselves
and to stay tuned after a break to see the correct
answers with some interpretation of  why.
At first brush this does not seem to be all that big of a deal but it is.  It 
is very big.

It is so big that Jeremy and the Steele Creek Nature Center endorsement of the 
Bird Club was, at that airing -- and it airs often each day, over fiber cable 
optics in
13,500 households across the county to includes distribution in Kingsport, 
Bristol Tennessee,
Bluff City, Bristol Virginia, Blountville and to Piney Flats.  This reaches a 
significant number of 
households in the most populated county among the 20-county area of Southwest 
Virginia and 
Upper East Tennessee.

It is not small that Bristol is a national leader in hi-tech, cutting-edge 
communications technology.
Together, Bristol government-owned and operated cable TV and 
"fiber-to-the-premise" delivery
at the doorstep of 50,000 households in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest 
Virginia.  The
Bristol Virginia city-owned OptiNet system was the first ever municipally-owned 
in the United States.
It reaches 16,500 customers and Bristol Tennessee Essential Service reaches 
33,000.  Johnson
City is busy working on a third-party-operated system that will be similar.

Bristol has provided municipal broadband and the fastest of fiber optic 
service, including telephone,
cable TV, internet and leading technology for 10 years.

Late in 2011, the Bristol Tennessee BTN Channel 16 television production team 
and management staff for the
city won a national "SAVVY" award which recognized the 
channel that Jeremy and the city-produce programming
for a local government communications effort that pushes
the limits of innovation or technology to intended audiences.

 During the Rhythm & Roots festival last September, Bristol Virginia turned on 
a wi-fi coverage pavilion
 which lit up the downtown area with sophisticated internet and high-resolution 
digital television
 to festival goers throughout the downtown streets.  It not only delivered 
smart phone, laptop and other   cutting edge access but provided schedules of 
events taking place, maps and up to the minute changes  for anything festival 
goers needed.

A source close to planning and municipal leadership at the Bristol Tennessee 
city hall said the city plans
this is year to budget a roll out of a major hi-tech "wireless mesh network" 
which would provide parks a hotspot-like network that would allow parks 
coverage across the city and even to surrounding neighborhoods.  The free 
access service would provide all of Steele Creek Park with a wireless mesh 
networks like capability network so that park visitors can access the internet 
and other cyber services from most places in the park.  You could sit in the 
woods with a laptop, walk a trail, paddle a boat or enjoy a picnic and get 
special access.  Similar connections thru the city-wide wireless mesh networks 
setup would provide access at other parks and places throughout the city.

An ambitious model involves generally small municipalities that seek to deploy 
wireless broadband to service government buildings, mobile city workers, 
and emergency services. This provides access to local government workers (in 
particular mobile employees such as city maintenance workers, code enforcement 
officers and building inspectors), while at the same time allows the broadband 
services to residents and, perhaps, businesses. Similar public/private 
partnerships are mushrooming in a number of small and mid-size U.S. cities.

Technology is changing the way we approach, enjoy and benefit from almost all 
that we do in our daily lives. It is also drastically changing the access to 
information and the way we communicate among birders and residents, tourists or 
nearby neighboring community visitors.

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN 

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