Living room conservation: a virtual way to engage participants in insect conservation.
Through interactive gaming, virtual reality applied to butterfly and forest conservation activities can reach a broad audience and initiate a paradigm shift towards coexistence between humans and butterflies under urban settings. Butterfly World 1.0 is a serious game designed to teach players about butterflies and plants in dry forest ecosystems in the Florida Keys (USA). Tasks include butterfly and plant identification and the removal of an invasive ant species. The immersive virtual environment allows players to explore the forest without swarms of mosquitoes and oppressive heat present in the real environment. Rethinking a different way of communicating butterfly conservation and environmental stewardship through gaming, we can reach many who might otherwise remain untouched by traditional education routes. Virtual gaming, designed to educate the player through meaningful tasks and measurable outcomes, presents another avenue for direct knowledge acquisition and passive empathy through direct experiences.