Wildlife GO wins Rep. Bill Huizenga’s 2023 Congressional App Challenge in Michigan’s Fourth District

Rep. Huizenga has named Jacob Williams, Jacob VanDyk, and Sahib Dhillon of Kalamazoo Christian High School as the winners of the 2023 Congressional App Challenge in Michigan’s Fourth District.


When asked what inspired the creation of Wildlife GO, the students said, “Here in Michigan, like many other states, we have so many awesome parks and outdoor green spaces. Many people don’t realize or enjoy these spaces, so we created this game/app to get people to go out and explore their surroundings and be more involved with their natural environment. It may seem like creating a phone app to get people to go out and enjoy nature is contradictory, but we believe that once someone is involved and invested in the outdoors, a love of nature is sure to follow.

Another reason we created this app is that a lot of parks are generally underfunded. We hope that with more people out using the park’s infrastructure, there will be more funding and money put into the parks to make them even better and more enjoyable for all people.

A third reason we created this app is to raise awareness about parks and nature conservation. We put in a lot of National Parks Service links that talk about hiking, camping, and exploring safely. We also have a section about getting involved with the parks. We used a .gov website that has a lot of volunteering opportunities if users want to get involved that way, or we have other ways that users can get involved that take less time or input effort. In addition, we included a link to the National Parks Service, where users can donate to support the parks.”

This year’s Challenge saw an unprecedented level of participation, with 374 Members of the House of Representatives hosting competitions, surpassing the previous record of 340. A remarkable 11,334 students from across the United States competed in this year’s Challenge, marking an impressive increase of nearly 1,000 participants compared to the previous record set in 2019. The enthusiasm and creativity these students display is a testament to the growing interest in technology and signal a bright future for American innovation. The surge of ingenuity continued with a whopping 3,645 original applications flooding in, nearly a thousand more than the previous year’s high. This remarkable growth showcases the exceptional talent and innovation within our nation’s youth.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. This resounding show of bipartisan support emphasizes the critical importance of STEM education in today’s rapidly evolving world. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival