iNaturalist is a fantastic tool for reporting nature observations. This global endeavor to document biodiversity is like Facebook for nature nerds. Dialog with other naturalists and researchers as you help each other identify findings.
Observations are automatically added to relevant iNaturalist projects, such as the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI), a long-term study aimed at identifying and mapping all 80,000 estimated species in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or Otter Spotter, which maps where otters are seen in the park.
Whether you’re in the area for a day or every day, your observations will help us better understand the biodiversity around us, and track changes in phenology and the distribution of species in our area.
Why it Matters
We can’t protect what what don’t know we have. Adding observations to iNaturalist helps park resource managers, the public, and surrounding communities know which species use which areas of the park, and when they use them. This information can inform management decisions and help us track any changes that may occur due to distruptions in the lives of our neighbor species.
Furthermore iNaturalist helps YOU, the user, become more familiar with the species around you, which in turn can add depth and excitement to your experience outdoors.
Take it Home
Observations don’t stop outside park boundaries! You can use iNaturalist anywhere for any species. At home, a local park, a schoolyard, or maybe even inside your home to identify that little spider who has decided to be your roomate!
Learn more about how you, researchers, and educators can use iNaturalist, including how to download data, by watching the recording of our educator workshop from April 2021 here, find even more resources (including practice data sets, the slides from this workshop, and a step-by-step of how to download iNat data) here.