Why I'm crazy about iNaturalist...

So, I love iNaturalist.

Growing up, I loved to look through field guides... These weren't just field guides of critters around my home, but these were field guides of "birds of Australia" or "mammals of Africa!" I loved to imagine going to these places and finding these organisms. I'd also look harder for different kinds of plants and animals around me where ever I went. It inspired me to explore outside more and more. I even learned a few of the names of things too -- it was great!

iNaturalist is giving me that same sort of fix. I'm actively out looking for different organisms, uploading them to this network of naturalists, looking through other folks' observations, and learning TONS in the process.

It also feels good to be part of something "bigger than myself." I think that every observation adds a bit of data, even if it's just a simple point of species distribution to a 'common' species, and that adds something to the bigger picture. It feels great to be part of that.

So, I'm going to be adding a lot of my older photographs and observations to add more to this growing global database. I encourage other people to do the same. Look through those old photo albums on your desktop -- what sorts of animals/plants did you photograph? iNaturalist is the best way to share these photos and add data to that huge question of "what's out there?" Maybe someone is researching the distribution of some species and our little bit of data helps in that quest of knowledge.

And who knows... maybe there's some kid out there that loves to look through field guides too. He/she may look through your observations and imagine looking for and finding the critters and plants that you post. Potentially life-changing!

A special thanks to those that verify other identifications. I try my best to do that for others. I'm far from perfect on my identifications (I've already mis-ID'ed a bunch!), but hopefully I can give others a bit of guidance to go and either accept the identification or dig deeper to find out what it is! Hopefully I'm helping out a few people out there.

I'm so happy that this network exists. I hope it grows and grows! Thanks to all involved with iNaturalist. Keep it up! :)

Posted on December 03, 2014 10:17 PM by sambiology sambiology


:thumbsup: :+1: :yay:

Thanks for writing this!

Posted by alexshepard about 9 years ago

Oh, me too! And I've already scoured the heck out of all my old photos, sometimes I go back looking for more. I really wish I also had iNaturalist when I still lived in California, or when I first moved to Vermont and saw tons of new stuff but had no context as to where or what it was!

Posted by charlie about 9 years ago

Awesome Sam!

Posted by loarie about 9 years ago

Have to say that is awesome and inspiring. It is so great to be able to connect with other naturalists and nature lovers not just from North America but from around the world. In modern America it has become the norm to not venture into the woods. I agree that maybe some of the posts here can help inspire the next generation of naturalists and conservationists. It is also great to be part of a wider community of people who believe our natural world is something that is valuable and is worth saving.

Posted by wildflowerenthusi... about 9 years ago

Thanks, Sam, for your journal post and the many ways you have personally helped me. You are one of my favorite iNat people.
I, too, have really enjoyed iNat and and have learned so much this last year. Mind-boggling.

Thanks for reminding us of what a great experiences we are able to share with iNat.

Posted by connlindajo about 9 years ago

I saw your journal post on Facebook and was so glad because this is exactly what I have been thinking- and I've been going through older photos and posting some of them. I saw something the other day on how kids can recognize corporate logos but can't identify common plants and animals that live in their region- maybe iNat can help play a role in changing that. I love looking at the observations others post although I have no idea what so many of them are- I love how many people from all over the world are participating and how I'm connecting to others who love the same spot of Earth that I do, as well. I also love that you don't have to be an "expert"- it's perfectly fine to not know what something is. We all have to start somewhere!

Posted by jblinde about 9 years ago

I think you capture the feeling of many of us around the platform!, I saw the twit yesterday, but had no time to read it, and today I felt like many have expressed "lucky to be part of this" for may years we have dreamed of this project, now we can share across borders the love and passion we have for nature. I like you and many other iNaturalist around here, lets keep up and hope we can meet soon here in Mexico!



Posted by aztekium about 9 years ago


Posted by yarnmaven about 9 years ago

Thank you too, Sam. Well said. :)

Posted by direbecca almost 9 years ago

Thanks Sam! Great to meet a fellow naturalist!

Posted by donnak over 8 years ago

Hey Sam - I'm not going to be able to make it
this evening :-(
I hope all goes well! They are lucky to have you presenting!!!
Take care,

Posted by sschickedanz about 8 years ago

Hello Sam, Great to meet you at the 16th Annual Texas Master Naturalist Conference outside Marble Falls, TX at Horseshoe Bay. You hooked me on iNaturalist.org! I've been taking pictures, posting and sharing with friends and neighbors, (they have begun to 'observe" their own places). My husband is now hooked, LOL. Thanks for your infectious research and news about iNaturalist.org.

Posted by mary_ann_nilson about 8 years ago

Hi Sam. Well said. I have some thoughts in the same direction: http://inaturalist.ca/journal/marknenadov/5299-why-i-love-inaturalist

Posted by marknenadov almost 8 years ago

That's really great!

Posted by amarzee over 7 years ago

Hi Sam. I just wanted to say thanks for coming out to UTA in April.
I really love this app.
How do I find out about upcoming local bioblitzes?

Posted by nana40 over 7 years ago

Thanks for your recent ID on my page (green anole).
I enjoyed reading your bio and this post.

So have you had the opportunity to go see the birds of Australia and Mammals of Africa?

I have had the opportunity t o do international travel for my work and have loved the experience ...although there is never enough time and money to see everything that you want !

Posted by gharris about 7 years ago

I know this inspired me. Well, the planet itself inspired me.

Posted by huyct over 6 years ago

Me too ^2. Tons of field guides.

Thanks Sam, it will be a challenge, but the fun is in the id.


Posted by boothby over 6 years ago

Sam, thanks for liking my journal post about the Great Horned Owl. We are working to save that property from development, as a natural area type park, in a near urban environment. Wish us luck!

Posted by crayonsss over 6 years ago

I enjoyed your presentation last night at the CTMN meeting. You are a brave man to tackle such subjects. I'm glad someone does.

Posted by eangler almost 6 years ago

Sam... wondering about the subjects mentioned by eangler.... ??? Sounds like it might make a good program for ECRTMN.....

Posted by connlindajo almost 6 years ago

Thanks @eangler ! And @connlindajo , I spoke about how a Texas Master Naturalist can find common ground in a politically divisive culture... It stretched me a bit to prep for it, but the bulk of the presentation was about how master naturalists, as volunteers, can influence policy by the action of volunteering. :)

Also, for anyone else getting notifications from this post, I updated it a little bit in an article for Texas Land Conservancy: http://texaslandconservancy.org/inaturalist-a-new-way-to-engage-with-nature/

Posted by sambiology almost 6 years ago

Thanks Sam! You are my SUPERHERO!

Posted by connlindajo almost 6 years ago

iNaturalist is the extended brain I needed when I moved between continents some decades ago. Remembering the latin plant names was an obstacle. Now I can botanize again!

Posted by citizen1 about 5 years ago

Looking through some of your amazing observations certainly inspired me! Hello from Illinois :)

Posted by bg1159 almost 5 years ago

I just showed my 5th grade granddaughter how to use inaturalist. No, she's not old enough, but I love it too much and now she loves it! I've showed her the basics of making observations. She's thrilled with the whole thing.

Posted by zeldalola over 4 years ago

you should show her seek too @zeldalola . I just showed it to a bunch of younger kids and they were into it!

Posted by charlie over 4 years ago

Hey Sam! Sept. is here and I've got new seniors to teach about iNaturalist and eco-stuff in general. I would REALLY love for you to come talk to them! This year, they meet 8-9am and 1:30-2:30 every day (Tuesday would be the best if it's all the same to you). They are super smart and raring to go... Let me know. and thanks! Dan

Posted by northcut1 over 4 years ago

Love your writing/bio! I'm so glad to hear I'm not as "nutty" as I feel most times. I am no expert at anything, but I am definitely a zealot about nature if there ever was one. Glad to share that spirit with others. Thanks for putting yourself out there and inspiring us all!

Posted by sdelgrosso about 4 years ago

Wonderful essay about your love of nature., Sam. I feel the same way. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by aliciainthewild over 3 years ago

Well said. I think; love, smile and knowledge should be shared as a key to a beautiful life. Keep up the passion and inspiration :)

Posted by melissadilara almost 3 years ago

Hello Sam,
On iNaturalist, I recently identified a species I found in central Texas as Convovulus arvensis. This was disputed by t.e.d, and on looking more closely, I agree with him. He stuck with the genus, however, and did not go further. I would appreciate your opinion, as you are familiar with Texas species.

Many thanks for your past help.

Posted by sideoats over 2 years ago

Hi Sam, I am a fan of yours already and I am new to INaturalist....you are the first person I ran into as you helped me with my observations Your assist inspires me to look deeper. Thanks for the enthusiasm. I hike almost everyday in the Hollywood Hills. I grew up here and have always been intrigued by the life that pulses through these hills. It is so great to have this forum to post on and learn from.

Much Thanks.
mhdp (Mona)

Posted by mhdp about 2 years ago

Hello Sam, this journal was just awesome. I'm really a new member of this gigantic family of iNats, it's been a year that I joined this platform....And just like you, I am also crazy about iNaturalist. I'm a undergraduate Biotechnologist from India and also trying to know more and more about the organisms everywhere around us and to understand the nature around us in a whole new way. And to add, I'm already a fan of yours :)

Posted by neel_03 about 2 years ago

Sam: thanks for being YOU!! Was a fortunate beneficiary of your Zoom MN training for Coastal Prarie MN. Your enthusiasm is THE best!! Thanks!! NB

Posted by njgb almost 2 years ago

This is NB again! Need some assistance with Big Bend Projects on iNat. Perhaps you may be of assistance. Mine is the cochineal insect on the dorsal paddle of a cactus in BB, pointed out by U of Alabama professor of entomology!!

Posted by njgb almost 2 years ago

Hey Sam, I was very happy to explore a little bit of Texas for about a week. I thought of you all the time!

Posted by susanhewitt 10 months ago

Hey Sam
Didn’t get as many observations this year
Will do better next time
Also got a great observation on May 2
A rose breasted grosbeak
Too bad he didn’t show up the day before
He took a great picture
Thanks for helping all of us

Posted by janlapine 7 months ago

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