Join the community!The iNaturalist app is a great way to share discoveries of plants and animals with other nature enthusiasts.
Once the app is downloaded to your phone, you can upload photos of plants and wildlife that you take while out on the trails.
The app’s online community is made up of Observers and Identifiers. As an Observer, if you are unable to identify a species, an Identifier will let you know what you’re looking at.
At Rouge National Urban Park, we have our own project on the iNaturalist platform where observations made in the park can be uploaded. Identifiers can include Rouge staff, who will help to identify an organism.
Just as experts can help the curious, the curious can help the experts. The contributions of citizen science are very important and help to add to our knowledge of various species and their distribution throughout the park. Resource Conservation Officer Juliana Skuza says that the public can also help to identify areas of high road mortality and human-wildlife conflict areas. “Having people identify even invasive species in their yard or on the trails means that we can visit those sites and come up with management actions to deal with them.”
In the past, information was scattered amongst many different organizations and groups. Now, many are migrating to iNaturalist as the sole location of all this data. This Canadian-led initiative is creating a much simpler, more streamlined process for learning about flora and fauna around the world.
Imagine being able to appreciate nature while remaining socially distanced, yet still be part of a wide community of people who are passionate about the natural world. An added bonus is that there’s no need to pick that mysterious flower. With the iNaturalist app, you can share it with the world and keep it with you forever.