[Photo by Joshua “Bobcat” Stacy]
Learning how to identify organisms and ask questions about the natural world around us does not just have to take place at Outdoor School! One of the things that students find most inspiring about being part of Exploring New Horizons, is seeing and learning about the many interesting plants and animals that live in their own ecosystems, such as in the tidepools and the redwood forest. Now, students and their families can download the free iNaturalist app and get involved at home, too.
Be a naturalist at home and contribute to science with iNaturalist! The app lets you keep track of your observations in urban and wild settings. By logging on to iNaturalist, users can learn what species are found by other fellow iNaturalist users in any particular area. These observations can be identified by experts and are even used by scientists to give you a greater understanding of where organisms are being found.
Many Exploring New Horizons naturalists have been using iNaturalist as a resource in their personal time outdoors, as well as on trail with students. “It’s gotten me to look at a lot of small things I had passed in the past,” says Loma Mar naturalist Joshua “Bobcat” Stacy. He has been using a camera with a microscope function to share his discoveries in real time with his trail groups. He hopes to link his finds with classroom projects over the coming year and to continue students’ exploration of the ecosystems of Exploring New Horizons online. “I feel like I’m learning at an accelerated rate and this authentic enthusiasm has set a wonderful tone on the trail.” shared Bobcat. Being linked to such knowledgeable naturalists who are part of the iNaturalist community is an incredible resource.