NORTH BAY – A smart phone app developed in North Bay is now the winner of a prestigious innovation award.

The app is called Forest Talk Radio, which tells the story of the Laurier Woods.

David Merleau never could have imagined it would be such a huge hit.

"Conservation has definitely been one of the guiding principles I think that got me inspired to do this project," he said.

The GPS triggered app is the first of its kind, telling the story through the 'voices', 'eyes' and 'ears' of the trees along the Laurier Woods hike.

"There's strategies that a forest uses to have information move back and forth and in the case it's a fungus, so I looked at this fungus creatively, and I look at it as a radio host," he explained.

"We've seen people using it, but we also see it as a new way of communicating to people… there's a traditional way of doing things, but then there's Forest Talk Radio that people can use," says Fred Pinto, Friends of the Laurier Woods President.

Staff of Ontario's Conservation Authorities voted the app to be the winner of the 2019 Conservation Areas Innovation Award at a workshop last week. It was judged based on being the best project that supports the environment.

Merleau created the app using data collected from the Conservation Authority.

"They used a lot of the heritage information that we supplied and certainly some geology and trees and all ecological things communicate," said Troy Storms, North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority.

Merleau if currently developing a similar app for the White Bear Forest in Temagami, which he hopes will be available for download next summer.