When I spoke with the naturalist at our local nature center about citizen science projects, she recommended that all kids use either Project Noah or iNaturalist to keep track of their nature discoveries. So during April, I decided to take some time and get to know what these projects were and how we could begin using them at home.
Project Noah and iNaturalist are very similar. They are both crowdsourcing tools that can help scientists and researchers study wildlife in your backyard. Through their websites or apps, you can simultaneously keep track of your nature discoveries, connect with other people who love nature, get help identifying that plant, bug or animal that you don’t know the name of and also help scientists with their research.
In each of them, you can also join one or more groups that focus on a particular place or specific plants or animals. This is a great way to connect with other people in your area or who are interested in birds, for example, or plants…whatever you like observing and taking photos of the best! In Project Noah, these groups are called “missions,” and in iNaturalist, they are called “projects.”
I signed up for both of these programs, but I was disappointed to discover that I could not find the Android app for Project Noah in Google Play. Perhaps it’s being updated? I sent a message to Project Noah to ask about its status, but I haven’t received a reply yet. Sadly, if I can’t use my phone camera, I doubt I’ll be using Project Noah very often.
I had better luck with iNaturalist. I signed up on their website, and then I downloaded their app to my phone and signed in there. I’ve only uploaded one photo of a little hairstreak butterfly my son found in our yard the other day, so I’m still tinkering with the site. I’m excited to see there’s an option to keep a “journal” – a sort of blog – on there too! I did not see this option on Project Noah.
If you’re a member of iNaturalist, and you’d like to connect with me, my handle is “mamaofletters.” I look forward to sharing our nature discoveries with you!
SHELLI BOND PABIS is home | school | life magazine’s senior editor. She writes about her family’s homeschooling journey at www.mamaofletters.com.