Welcome to the exciting world of iNaturalist! Are you ready to unlock the power of citizen science and join the Saskatoon and Area City Nature Challenge? In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to make identifications on iNaturalist and contribute to this thrilling event happening from May 2 to May 7, 2023. Together, we can make a difference by uniting as a team, networking with fellow nature enthusiasts, and learning about the biodiversity in our city and surrounding areas.
Making identifications on iNaturalist may seem daunting at first, but fear not! We’ll walk you through the process and provide you with some tips and tricks to get started. Whether you’re a seasoned iNat user or a beginner, we hope this article will inspire and motivate you to contribute to the Saskatoon and Area City Nature Challenge.
Tip 1: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes As Lynn Harper, an experienced iNat user, wisely said, “You might make a mistake, but so what? I make mistakes, all humans make mistakes, and perfect beings aren’t allowed to join this project anyway.” So, don’t be afraid to make identifications and contribute to the iNaturalist community. You’re not going to break iNaturalist, and even experts sometimes struggle with identifications. Embrace the learning process and have fun!
Tip 2: Ask for Help If you’re unsure about an observation or need assistance with identification, don’t hesitate to ask for help. iNaturalist is a supportive community, and there are many experienced users who are willing to lend a hand. You can leave a comment on journal posts, send a private message to fellow users, or mention them in a comment on an observation by adding the “@” symbol followed by their iNat username. Don’t be shy – networking and collaborating with others is part of the beauty of iNaturalist!
Tip 3: Filter, Filter, Filter With millions of observations on iNaturalist, filtering is your best friend. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of observations, use filters to narrow down your focus. You can filter by species, location, date, and many other criteria to find observations that match your expertise and interests. This will help you make more accurate identifications and make progress on your identifications.
Step-by-Step Process Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making identifications on iNaturalist.
- Choose Your Tab: iNaturalist has two main tabs for making identifications – the Explore tab and the Identify tab. You can try both and see which one you prefer. They are similar in many ways, so choose the one that works best for you.
- Apply Filters: Start by going to the iNaturalist Explore page (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations) and click on the gray “Filter” button on the upper right. Here, you can specify your filters, such as observations that need identifications, observations from a particular location, or observations of a particular taxonomic group. Experiment with different filters to find the observations that interest you the most.
- Review Observations: Once you’ve applied your filters, you’ll see a list of observations that match your criteria. You can choose to view them in different formats, such as a map, a list, or a grid. Lynn Harper recommends using the grid view, as it provides thumbnails of the photos that are large enough to see most of the details.
Step 4: Use Field Guides and Online Resources
If you’re not familiar with the species you’re trying to identify, don’t worry! iNaturalist has a built-in field guide feature that can help you narrow down your options. Simply click on the “Suggestions” tab on the observation page, and you’ll see a list of possible species based on the photo and location. You can also browse through the field guides specific to your region or taxonomic group to find more information and images for comparison.
In addition to iNaturalist’s field guides, you can also use external resources to help with your identification. Online plant databases, field guides, and botanical keys can be valuable tools in narrowing down your options. Make use of reputable sources and cross-reference information to confirm your identification. There are some online resources here.
Step 5: Make an Informed Guess
Based on the information you’ve gathered from the observation page, field guides, and other resources, make an informed guess on the identification. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Identifying species can be challenging, and even experts can sometimes make errors. The important thing is to do your best and contribute to the collective knowledge on iNaturalist.
Step 6: Leave a Comment and Move On
After making your identification, leave a comment on the observation page explaining your reasoning and how confident you are in your identification. Be polite and respectful in your comments, and avoid being overly critical or dismissive. Remember that iNaturalist is a community-driven platform aimed at learning and sharing knowledge, and constructive feedback is always appreciated.
If you’re unsure about your identification or want a second opinion, you can mention other iNat users in your comment or send them a private message. Collaboration and teamwork are key aspects of iNaturalist, and the community is generally supportive and willing to help.
Once you’ve made your identification and left a comment, move on to the next observation. Keep repeating the process, and you’ll soon find yourself getting more comfortable with making identifications on iNaturalist and using frequently used reponses.
Step 7: Be Mindful of Unknown Observations
As you browse through observations, you may come across observations that are still marked as “unknown.” These are observations that haven’t been identified to any taxonomic level yet. If you have the expertise and knowledge to identify these observations, take the opportunity to contribute and help fellow iNat users in their quest for knowledge.
When identifying unknown observations, be cautious and thorough in your research. Avoid making hasty guesses or assumptions, and provide a clear explanation for your identification. Remember that your identification can have an impact on the accuracy of the overall iNaturalist database, so strive for accuracy and precision. If not sure, don’t add a species level identification, but rather a higher up identification on the taxon tree, or leave it as just the first word in the species id, which would be the genus level.
Step 8: Keep Learning and Sharing Knowledge
iNaturalist is not just a platform for identifying species, but also a valuable resource for learning and sharing knowledge about nature. Take advantage of the community’s expertise and learn from other iNat users. Join discussions, read informative posts, and participate in webinars and workshops to expand your knowledge and improve your identification skills.
In addition to learning, don’t hesitate to share your own knowledge and expertise with others. Post your own observations, write informative descriptions, and provide accurate identifications to contribute to the iNaturalist community.
How to use the iNaturalist identify page YouTube
Identifying species on iNaturalist can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience that contributes to our understanding of the natural world. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, ask for help, and keep learning. Participating in events like the Saskatoon and Area iNaturalist City Nature Challenge CNC YXE 2023 identification phase can be a great opportunity to hone your skills and contribute to the scientific community. Remember to always follow best practices for identification, such as providing detailed observations, using field guides and reputable resources, making informed guesses, leaving polite comments, and being mindful of unknown observations.
By actively engaging in the identification process on iNaturalist, you not only improve your own knowledge and skills, but you also help build a robust and accurate database of biodiversity observations that can be used for research and conservation purposes. Your contributions can help scientists, researchers, and conservationists better understand and protect our natural world.
So, during the City Nature Challenge, you did indeed grab your smartphone, and head outdoors, and made observations on iNaturalist. With practice and perseverance, you’ll become a confident identifier and an integral part of the iNaturalist community. Let’s work together to unlock the mysteries of nature, one observation at a time!
Happy observing and identifying on iNaturalist! Thank you kindly!
For directions as to how to drive to “George Genereux” Urban Regional Park
For directions on how to drive to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
For more information:
Blairmore Sector Plan Report; planning for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, George Genereux Urban Regional Park and West Swale and areas around them inside of Saskatoon city limits
NEW P4G District Official Community Plan
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SE 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
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Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
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Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
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Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail / e-transfers )Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!
Donations can be made through Paypal, Canada Helps, Contact Donate A Car Canada, SARCAN Drop & Go 106100594 for the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
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