In every walk in nature, one receives far more than he seeks.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you fancy yourself a nature lover, plant aficionado, bird nerd, wildlife connoisseur… or that you at least aspire to being one!
Spending time in nature is wonderful in itself, but we’d venture to say that learning about our surroundings only enhances that appreciation. One way we’d invite you to learn about the natural world during your nature walks, bike rides, SUP outings or family picnics is by using the app iNaturalist.
What is iNaturalist?
iNaturalist is a crowdsourced community science platform where users can record and share their observations of the natural world around them. Through the iNaturalist app, users are connected to a community of scientists who assist in identifying elements of the fauna and flora that are recorded.
The app allows the user to:
- Upload their pictures of plants, insects or animals they are observing in real time;
- Crowdsource identification by connecting with experts who can identify the organisms;
- Create useful data that helps scientists and practitioners (like us!) understand when and where certain species occur; and
- Learn about nature by talking to other naturalists, satisfying your curiosity and helping others.
What’s in it for you?
With the iNaturalist app, you can quench your endless curiosity when you are out in nature. How many times do you ask yourself “What’s that bird?” while on a nature walk? (Or even better, how many times does your child ask you similar questions?) If you’re anything like us, that question crosses your mind more times than you can count. Simply submit a picture (or a song recording!) to iNaturalist, and you’ll be on your way to finding the answer!
We especially like iNaturalist because it works for plants, but also for all other life forms, including insects, birds, fish, fungi, etc. And what is more, it provides information about both native and invasive species, which makes it a great multi-purpose tool!
Lastly, should you come across an invasive species infestation during your adventures, iNaturalist allows you to not only confirm the species ID, but also report it in one fell swoop. How handy!
To get started with iNaturalist:
- Download the app from iNaturalist.ca
- Create an account
- That’s it! You are ready for your next nature outing.
We’d also invite you to join the Sea to Sky Lillooet Invasive Species project, which is a way to pool your observations with other people in the region. To be included in a project, observations must be taken in the Sea to Sky or Lillooet regions. By joining this project, you would be joining a group of over 300 community scientists who are as curious as you are about their environment!
Want to join an even bigger community?
We love your nature-loving ambition!
You can also join the national iNaturalist project called I Spy and Identify, where every report you make helps scientists to track, watch and protect Canada’s native species from unwanted impacts, including invasive species.