Why I Love iNaturalist

(I must tip my hat to http://www.inaturalist.org/journal/sambiology/3679)

I am very curious about the natural world around me. As my profile and my observation list bears out, there are a wide variety of creatures I am interested in. My level of interest in observing and photographing wildlife has fluctuated throughout my life, but it has always been there.

  1. iNaturalist combines many great facets in a coherent way. It is a field guide, a fellow naturalist friend, an expert to consult, a photography forum, a place to learn, a place for tips, a place for constructive criticism and feedback, a place to explore taxonomy, a life list a place to held record species lists and range maps for others, a place to contribute to something bigger, etc.
  2. It is broad. There are many great specialty sites like BugGuide, Mushroom Observer, and eBird. They fulfill a niche and do it well, but there is none that has the depth and broadness of iNaturalist.
  3. iNaturalist is improving and getting better. I'm very thankful for this.
  4. There is a great community of people on here, both experts and amateurs like me!

I'm very thankful for the people that have helped me learn and identify my observations on here. Thanks a lot! My lifelist is much better due to your help!

We need to get more people on to iNaturalist, especially in some of those areas that are under-represented. My town (Essex) and county (Essex County, Ontario) are under represented, in my opinion. We have a lot of bio-diversity, but not many observations here. Here is a letter to the editor I wrote in hopes that some more people would join a project I made to document the wildlife at Sadler's Pond here in the town of Essex, Ontario: https://twitter.com/ContraTweet/status/694098091209814017

Posted on February 01, 2016 10:05 AM by marknenadov marknenadov


this is great mark!

Posted by leannewallis over 8 years ago

I get several folks that ask me "Why are you crazy about iNat?" You've summed it up! It's such a beautiful network and community of naturalists and nature enthusiasts.

I also have learned a tremendous amount by being on iNaturalist. Wow -- there are so many groups of organisms that I knew so little about, but now I feel fairly comfortable (dragonflies, birds, moths). It's magnificent. I want more people to experience this kind of intellectual growth that has deepened my curiosity of the natural world.

I may be idealistic and not realistic, but I think something like iNaturalist has the power to change the world. :) I believe in it!

Great entry, Mark. :)

Posted by sambiology over 8 years ago

Very cool Mark! RE: ways to get more activity from the Ontario area, would be curious to hear what has worked in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and elsewhere in TX from @sambiology, @cullen, & @greglasley. Also curious to hear thoughts from @jpage_cwf & @daveireland re: 2016 outreach plans for iNaturalist.ca and BioBlitz Canada.

Posted by loarie over 8 years ago

Well, here in Dallas Fort Worth, lots of it is by word of mouth -- I've done several presentations at the local master naturalists and nature organizations about it.

The bioblitzing is a great way to introduce folks to iNat as a data tool as well. :)

Posted by sambiology over 8 years ago

@loarie In my particular county, there was a modest surge of use during the Ojibway Park bioblitz (Windsor, Ontario), but then for the most part it died off. If I may share some more (hopefully constructively) critical feedback. I think there have been some deficiencies in inaturalist.ca (some of which have been addressed and some which have yet to be addressed). I've brought up some of them in Google Groups. Up to the present, my "by you" observation search can't be narrowed to locations outside of Canada (which is odd in my case especially since Michigan is, say, 30 minutes away). I'm finding myself switching over to iNaturalist.org about 4-5 times a week in order to narrow my observations by state or Cuba or whatever. Also, it is odd to default Canadian users to only search projects created in Canada (when many-most?-projects are like "Butterflies of North America"). Since not all that many projects have been created from Canada, it really makes iNaturalist's projects selection look sparse. If any default narrowing is relevant it is the target area of the project not the location of the fellow who created it. Also, iNaturalist.ca randomly goes French on me from time to time. These are just two small lingering issues that make iNaturalist.ca inferior. There were other ones that may have come into play into the cooling of the bioblitz surge. I get the branding differences and prioritization about content, but the locational sites should not be hampered in too stark ways, I think. We are all connected. If I didn't know I could switch to iNaturalist.org to get around these things, I may very well have come close to leaving at a couple points. Anyways, just some thoughts!

Posted by marknenadov over 8 years ago

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