The iNaturalist app is a great example of a tool citizens can use to increase their nature knowledge and, at the same time, play a role in today’s conservation research.
If you’re interested in learning more about this app that’s becoming popular with many outdoors enthusiasts, be sure to sign up for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) virtual program “Discover Nature: Explore iNaturalist.” This free online program, which will be April 29 from 6-7 p.m. is being put on by the staff of MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation in Joplin. This program is open to ages 12 and up. People can register at: https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/176556.
At this program, MDC Naturalist Jessie Ballard will explain how this app can help people identify plants and animals and it can connect them with over a million scientists and naturalists who can help them learn more about the outdoors. But the citizen participation through this app is symbiotic: By recording and sharing their data, iNaturalist subscribers also broaden the data bases for biologists and researchers working in a variety of natural resource fields.
Though the April 29 program is free, registration is required to participate using the link above. Registrants must provide an e-mail, so a program link can be sent to them. This program will include a chat-based question-and-answer period where participants can interact with the presenters.
Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/regions.