One of the incredible strengths of community (or citizen) science is that it gives researchers more eyes in the field. Why document plants and animals in our region? Understanding what is found where and when is an essential tool that aids species conservation and guides the future development of our region.
We have plenty of stories to prove that your efforts matter! Like when a team of community scientists helped find a destructive beetle or discovered invasive species, helping researchers, conservationists, and land managers better protect our environment. In fact, it was a group of amateur naturalists who came together to form the San Diego Society of Natural History—giving The Nat our start in 1874.
Many projects use iNaturalist, a free website and app, that invites anyone with a computer or smartphone to document plants and animals. Don't recognize something you've seen? That’s OK because when you share a photo with iNaturalist, fellow nature lovers can help you ID it.
Not familiar with iNaturalist? Not to worry, it’s super user-friendly. All you have to do is:
If you have plant or animal expertise, you can view and identify natural history observations from around the world without leaving the comfort of your home. It’s a crowd-sourced way to determine what lives where.
Already an experienced user and want to improve your plant observation skills? Check-out resources created by Nat Curator of Botany, and iNaturalist top identifier, Jon Rebman. Watch a training here or below and download this guide to photographing common regional plants.