Skip to main content


GLAMi Award-winning Save Your Stream challenges gamers to protect local waterways

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


July 28, 2020 – Did you know that even grass clippings can wash down the drain and starve waterways of oxygen, harming fish and other wildlife? This is just one of many science and sustainability facts packed into Save Your Stream, a fast-paced interactive game just released as a mobile app by the Natural History Museum of Utah and UK-based developers Thought Den.

Initially launched as an exciting multiplayer digital interactive in the museum’s 50th Anniversary exhibition, Nature All Around Us, the game’s popularity with visitors of all ages indicated to NHMU and Thought Den that it deserved an even larger audience. Now anyone with a mobile device can download Save Your Stream from their app store and soak up the science while sorting the trash in a race against the clock.

“At first we were thinking of Save Your Stream as a state-of the-art digital interactive only within the context of an in-gallery experience,” said NHMU deputy director and director of visitor experience Becky Menlove. “But it was such a hit that we knew it would be exciting to release it on mobile, and that Thought Den could pull it off. Save Your Stream is a great example of the work museums can do to engage people of all ages with important issues in a playful way.”

Creation of the game was lean and collaborative, allowing the teams on both sides of the Atlantic to work iteratively, which brought the concept from paper to digital—and now to the Save Your Stream app.

The comic-strip feel styling of the game is appealing to all ages, but the game is surprisingly challenging and environmental science is center stage. Save Your Stream content was validated with both subject matter experts and museum visitors to strike the balance between scientific accuracy and recognizable imagery for the general public.

From pet waste to soda cans to cardboard boxes, Save Your Stream piles on new types of trash over five levels, each requiring quicker thinking and faster fingers to drag the refuse to correct receptacles before an impending storm washes it down the gutter. In the course of play, users’ hasty decisions often reveal what happens when harmful trash and toxins wash down storm drains into rivers and streams. While simple, Save Your Stream raises complex challenges and inspires greater responsibility in every community.  

“This is a small game with a big message that matters wherever you are in the world: take care of the natural environment,” said Ben Templeton, creative director of Thought Den. “The familiar gameplay is easy at first, but players will need to show some determination to complete the game, which is fitting because we all need to put the effort in to protect our planet.”

Digital Press Kit for Save Our Stream

#             #             #

About the Natural History Museum of Utah

The Natural History Museum of Utah is one of the leading scientific research and cultural institutions in the country. Established in 1963, the Museum’s collections contain more than 1.6 million objects and offers innovative exhibitions and educational programs to thousands of residents and visitors each year, including traveling and permanent exhibits, special events and other programs. With an expected attendance of 300,000 visitors a year, the Museum also offers a variety of outreach programs to communities and schools throughout Utah, reaching every school district in the state every other year.

About Thought Den

Thought Den helps organizations use technology and playful design to bring diverse audiences together for deeper, more meaningful engagement with arts, culture and science. Founded in 2008, the studio has bases in Bristol and London. The small team designs and delivers playful interventions for web, mobile or installation. Whether static artwork, motion graphics or immersive games, a philosophy of “playful learning” is at the heart of the studio’s work. Company founder Ben Templeton is an award-winning creative director and facilitator. He has been the driving figure on innovative projects for organizations including LEGO, the Tate Modern and Science Museum in London.