Alderleaf Commons: Forum & Online Community
Making naturalist observations has its own rewards, and progressing along on your learning journey is a powerful process that can continue for a lifetime. It can also feel good to have your hard earned observations be made available for scientific research. Modern technology continues to make that more and more accessible and simple.
The newest form of this is the program iNaturalist. This world wide program is an excellent tool for learning and sharing. This program is made for sharing naturalist observations quickly, and allows others to help you double check your accuracy. You can include observations on plants, animals, fungi and even tracks. You can also join specific research projects, or even create your own projects.
You can also look at records of specific species from around the world.
Its worth the effort to join and to get familiar with. Although made to be accessible to smartphones, its use is not limited to them. It is just as simple and easy to use this program through a computer.
Check it out here: www.inaturalist.org/
Here is an example of a wildlife observation I shared recently:
This gives you a good sense of what type of information you can share, and all of the features on the observation page.
What do you think about the time spent using inaturalist versus time spent doing other things?
I think that field time, or "dirt time" is always more valuable and a better investment of time then sitting on a computer or smartphone. I do think, however, that this program is useful and can help identify as well as record observations once you return from a good quality sitspot experience or full day in the field.
This is meant only to supplement - not replace - quality field time. There is still no short cut to hard won, in-field naturalist observations. I think a good ratio of time use might be 90% field time, 10% inputting observations. Or perhaps, 95% field time and 5% inputting observations. But, I guess that is up to the individual.