Carrie Seltzer iNaturalist Staff

Joined: Jun 15, 2012 Last Active: Oct 27, 2020

I've been working for iNaturalist since February 2018 as the Stakeholder Engagement Strategist. We're a small team so I wear many hats. I work closely with the international iNaturalist Network and other stakeholder relationships (especially collaborating organizations). I also support the iNat Store, fundraising, communications, and outreach, as needed.

Before joining iNaturalist, I was an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation working on open data policy. Prior to that, I worked at National Geographic on BioBlitz collaborations, particularly with the National Park Service and iNaturalist. I live in Washington, D.C..

I help coordinate the DC area participation in the City Nature Challenge (see how we did in 2019!). If you want to be involved in DC for 2020, please join the Google Group that we use for coordination.

My advice to new users:
-Look for other users in your area. Comment on their observations, favorite the cool ones, and add IDs.
-Not many users in your area/expertise? Recruit others! Organize outings. Give presentations (use mine!)
-For initial identifications, it's fine to be accurate (e.g. "plant") without being precise (e.g. "Common Dandelion"). If you're the kind of person who is anxious about looking ignorant, don't stress because we're all here to learn (I tend to hear this concern from professional biologists who are especially self-conscious because of their credentials.)
-This is a social network, so the more you interact with other users, the more likely other users are to interact with your observations.
-Help other users! Add and confirm identifications for species you are familiar with. There are always plenty of observations that don't have any id at all and in that case even adding "plant" or "insect" is helpful.
-Be the kind of user you'd want to interact with. Basically, be a good iNaturalist citizen (helpful, friendly, kind, firm-but-polite when necessary). De-escalate the conversation if it gets heated. Don't engage if you can't.

  • Be gracious when giving and receiving corrections. We all make ID mistakes sometimes. That's part of learning. Ask for clarification and try not to make unhelpful assumptions.
    -Join relevant projects and add your observations to them. I'm always trying to get more people involved in AfriBats!
    -You get out what you put in.

In general, I take mediocre photos, like commenting to welcome & encourage new users (try it out with this filter for accounts created in the last day), and am not very good at birds. I previously managed National Geographic's Great Nature Project. Before joining National Geographic, I got a PhD in Ecology (I studied seed dispersal in Tanzania and choreographed a dance about it). I'm a proud graduate of Earlham College which has a long history of training field biologists. I was interviewed about Earlham and iNaturalist for a short video. I love meeting other iNaturalist enthusiasts and learning how to find and identify new things.

Next known travel destinations:
-None, because we're all staying home

My recent macro photos are all taken on my iPhone XS with a Ztylus Revolver lens (available for other phones too). It lets me quickly switch between macro, super macro, and non-macro. It comes with fisheye and wide angle lenses too, but I almost never use those and I think it's worth it for the macro alone. It's the quickest, least fiddly cell phone macro I've found.

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