What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.
Paul was at the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association in Pennington, N.J. around 1990 as Certification Program Administrator for NOFA-NJ and from interactiion with people and ideas there got the new idea that people could learn about health and environmental issues through virtual gardening, where one could see a lifetime's impact in an hour of simulation. He joined a graduate program in Ecology to learn more about this field to help build the simulation, and there he met his future wife (Cynthia Kurtz), and the two then spent over six person years working on this sofware. In the process of doing this work, we came across a book called __Survival Gardening: Enough nutrition to live on from 1000 sq. ft. (just in case)__ by John A. Freeman from 1983 which we found inspirational in thinking about making a garden simulator into a game about survival and nutrition; unfortunately in the pressure to get something out within our financial time limits, many of the survival game-like aspects were sacrificed, and we have had to spend much of the past ten years doing unrelated consulting (like at IBM Research and on Wall Street) -- so we have not yet had time to add all these survival game features back in.
Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material
Paul D. Fernhout and Cynthia F. Kurtz are a husband-wife team. Both received their M.A. degrees from the Ecology program at SUNY Stony Brook (where they met). Together they have well over thirty years of programming experience. Paul has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Princeton. Cynthia has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Clarion University of PA.
How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)