Ben Armstrong

Joined: Jul 24, 2017 Last Active: Apr 19, 2019

Fascinated with nature and identifying plants since childhood, I owe a lot of that to my parents who encouraged that, both near home and out in the parks and trails of our beautiful province. Now, whenever I can, I try to get outside in my neighbourhood, on our trails, and into the woods. When I'm out, if I'm not taking photos, I'm at least scanning my surroundings, cataloguing the familiar & questioning the unusual in my mind. My appreciation of the diversity of life in our vicinity has been enhanced by exploring it through photography, honing my skills as a naturalist, and connecting with others to talk about what I'm seeing. This never fails to challenge me to learn more.

During the summer of 2018, I started taking a keen interest in bees, and have daily spent numerous hours in the pursuit of expanding my knowledge and sharpening my bee identifying skills, as well as making regular trips to nearby fertile bee hunting grounds to make new observations. I'm often wrong in my initial guesses, but each time I take correction, I learn so much! It's a cue that I've been looking at the wrong things & drives me back to the keys to look closer and fix my misconceptions.

I have now spent three years on the board of the Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization starting out as technical support, later becoming secretary, and now also working as a volunteer trail steward of The Bluff Trail, which sits on the protected area we help care for. iNat is a natural fit to support the kind of engagement with our users we believe is needed in order to carry out this work.

As anyone who has spent any time at all on Facebook might testify, the promise it offers to connect us with others can frequently disappoint. Yet, ever the optimist, I stay on, recognizing that even if it's not the social network I wish we had, it's the one we do have. One way I combat the tendency towards disappointment is by frequently posting observation photos there and saying a bit about each set. This habit has sparked some pretty interesting conversations, and inspires me to keep learning more. Therefore, if you're on Facebook, I'd be happy to engage you there in that way.

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