AR Tessie on the Lake

Tahoe Tessie isn't real, but climate change is!

After many months of development, our new augmented reality (AR) mobile app, Find Tahoe Tessie, is almost ready to debut!

Before we can launch a wide-scale promotion for Find Tahoe Tessie, we need your help to test and evaluate. Your participation can help us ensure our stewardship messaging and science are easily understood, plus it’s fun! If this sounds like something you can do, download Find Tahoe Tessie in the Apple AppStore or Google Play Store. Note any technical issues, things you like, things you don’t like, or anything else that piques your interest while you play. After completing the game, submit your feedback by filling out this quick survey:

Find Tahoe Tessie is an Augmented Reality (AR) gaming app which places the mythical Tahoe Tessie in and around Lake Tahoe. Use your smart phone to capture (a photo) of Tahoe Tessie thriving in Lake Tahoe, share content on social media, and learn about the impacts of climate change on the lake, Tahoe Tessie, and other aquatic organisms. There are multiple Tessies to be found and viewing Tessie in augmented reality can be done anywhere but she looks best at the lake.

While using the app, players become scientists and throughout the game find scientific tools used for various lake experiments, explore Tahoe through local excursions, and apply scientific knowledge that will help find Tahoe Tessie. There are many scientific discoveries to be made throughout this app and while this fun is for the entire family, our learning objectives target students in the 3rd to 5th grade range. At the end of the game, players will have an improved comprehension and better understanding of climate change and its impacts to freshwater ecosystems

Download the Find Tahoe Tessie app currently on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for android devices links. 

About Tahoe Tessie

While Tahoe Tessie is not real, the characteristics of this mythical creature are based on real aquatic organisms from Lake Tahoe such as the native Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. Similar to other aquatic organisms that live in Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Tessie’s health depends on:

  • Water temperature - Aquatic organisms at Lake Tahoe depend on cold water and lake temperatures are warming due to climate change.
  • Dissolved oxygen - Cold water holds more dissolved oxygen which is essential for aquatic organisms like fish and zooplankton.
  • Lake clarity - This affects the depth at which algae (food for fish) grows and all sight-feeders need clean, clear water to see and hunt for food.
  • Algae - While algae make up the base of the food web and is crucial for the survival of other organisms, too much algae can make it harder sight-feeders to find their food and can create toxic environments such as Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Warming temperatures 


The Find Tahoe Tessie app was developed by BrandXR for the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services Grant Award: MA-245954-OMS-20. Special thanks to:

BrandXR Development Team including Derek Rowe, Moody Mattan, Kunal Patel, and more.

HG&Co evaluation team including Kate Haley Goldman and Leslie Kadish.

UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center education team including Baylee Goodwin, Anne Graham, Jesse Landesman, Elise Matera, Heather Segale, Noah Shapiro, and Alison Toy.

The Center for Behavior and Change team including Caroly Shumway and Emma De Roy.

Technical Advisory Committee members include Brant Allen, Matt Davis, Jennifer Frazier, Alan Heyvaert, Sherry Hsi, Steven Sadro, Geoff Schladow, Anna Simmons, and Craig Williamson.

Special thank you to 

Special thanks to Bob McCormick for approval to use of the original Tahoe Tessie character and to Cozette Ellis for her creative skills in the latest adaptation of Tahoe Tessie.

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