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OSI’s ‘Black River Experience’ Interactive StoryMap Selected as 2022 Top Ten Favorite in Global Contest

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (Dec. 19, 2022)—The Open Space Institute’s (OSI) “Black River Experience” interactive StoryMap has been chosen as a 2022 top-ten community favorite by Esri, developer of the multimedia StoryMap platform.

The OSI project was selected out of more than half a million stories and recognized for its use of engaging narrative and innovative storytelling techniques.

“The Open Space Institute is proud to receive this recognition from Esri,” said Dr. Maria Whitehead, Vice President of Land in the Southeast for OSI and a lead architect for the Black River Initiative. “This award and the Black River StoryMap shine a much-deserved spotlight on the community-driven plan to reimagine this breathtaking river, protect its ecological value and beauty, and give the community access to the river they once depended on for their lives and livelihoods.

“We recognize Esri for developing the StoryMap tool that allows conservation organizations such as OSI to gain new and important audiences in our efforts to achieve life-changing land protection,” she continued.

'The Black River Experience' StoryMap

OSI's "Black River Experience" StoryMap was selected out of more than half a million stories and recognized for its use of engaging narrative and innovative storytelling techniques.

Visit the StoryMap
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The “Black River Experience” StoryMap, published earlier this year, utilizes drone imagery, film, photography, and narrative storytelling to show the need for, and potential impact of, the multi-year collaborative Black River Water Trail & Park Network Master Plan which aims to connect residents of Williamsburg and Georgetown counties to the Black River; provide critical flood mitigation for riverside communities; and boost local tourism.

OSI’s StoryMap is an innovative vehicle for conveying the results of a thorough public survey and community input process, which captured feedback from nearly 1,500 individuals on their ideas for improving the public experience around the Black River Initiative.

The “Black River Experience” StoryMap is OSI’s second international award winner, following OSI’s “Saving the Shawangunks,” which was a 2018 StoryMapper of the Year top-5 finalist. In total, OSI has produced five StoryMaps to date, each of which was created by an internal team of Cartographer Designer Kae Yamane and Communications Specialist Kelly Proctor.

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