Caught by the River

Encounters in a Digital Realm

22nd August 2023

Exciting news reached us this week from writer, longtime Friend of the River and The Stubborn Light of Things host Melissa Harrison, who revealed that she is developing a free app which aims to help reconnect people to nature.

The app, called ENCOUNTER, is set to launch in the UK in summer 2024. Mel described it thus:

A guided nature journal that lives on your phone, Encounter will allow you to create an interactive record of your nearby nature using text, voice-to-text (for when you’re on the move), photos, audio recordings and (we hope) AI identification. There’ll also be the option to let it record the route of your walks and plot each of your encounters in place so you can remember exactly where you saw that orchid or heard that cuckoo.

Optional prompts from Melissa will alert users to seasonal events such as the first bumblebees waking from hibernation, the return of swifts, ripening conkers and meteor showers, helping people to discover their nearby nature, tune into the changing seasons, and follow the story of the year.

Though initially aiming ‘to launch with something simple, beautiful and incredibly pleasing to use’, there is scope for the development of additional features, such as a desktop-accessible version, a social aspect, and/or location-specific prompts and ideas.

To receive regular progress updates on the app’s development, along with an invitation to become a beta-tester, go to