Terraba.org: An Interactive Website for an Endangered Community
"Ruth produced beautiful photographs that captured the spirit of the Térraba community. Her keen eye and unique vision help her see things that others don't. Ruth's determination, creative spunk and high social intelligence would make her an asset to any creative team." --Dioni Wise, Project Manager, Terraba.org
OVERVIEW: The Térraba are an indigenous community in Costa Rica who were in danger of losing the land they've lived on for the past 500 years, and the sacred traditions that go along with stewarding that land, because of a hydroelectric dam slated for construction in 2016. If built, this dam would flood the land, and all of it's sacred sites and natural resources, and displace the tribe and their way of life. The purpose of the website was to help bring awareness to this issue and also bring tourism to their area in an effort to build financial self-sufficiency.
CHALLENGE: A massive amount of content to be gathered in an extremely tight frame frame, by a group of students who are very much still in the learning phase of interactive media, in a language none of us were fluent in. In addition, there was a lot at stake--the Térraba really needed this project to work so they could remain on their land.
PROCESS: A six person team traveled to Costa Rica to gather content for the interactive website. Each student had a lead role to play in an area where they were still learning--web developer, project manager, photographer, web designer, writer, and information architect.
We had only 2 weeks in Costa Rica to gather all the website content that would effectively showcase the Terraba's plight (interviewing,doing video work, photography, design, writing, building strategy, brainstorming). The project manager kept the team and tasks on track, everybody had a role to play and our tasks were clearly outlined.
Upon arrival to the states, we had a little over a week to take all the content we had gathered and turn it into a website. Web developer, web designer, writer, photographer and information artchitect all collaborated to piece together the content that would effectively tell the Térraba's story in a visually compelling way that would draw tourists and visitors to the location.
RESULT: We finished our project on time. The site was featured in several national and international publications, including NPR, and most importantly, has greatly helped the Terraba in their quest to become a tourist destination and financially self-sufficient. As of yet, the dam has not been built.