So, What are We Doing Here, Anyway?

Hello, everyone! It's so exciting to see so many of you signed up for this project already - thank you so much!

In this post, I'm going to go into a little more detail on what we'll be doing, and I'll also give some advice to those who may be just starting out on iNaturalist (in which case, welcome!).

So, as the title says, what are we doing here? Well, we are hoping to make a visible dent in the backlog of plant observations in New England that are still "Needs ID," meaning the observation has neither reached Research Grade nor been determined to be a Casual observation. Here's the link to all of the Needs ID New England plant observation right now:

As I write this, the number of Needs ID New England plant observations is right around 758,000. Yikes, that's a LOT of work to do! But don't feel overwhelmed; in later journal posts, I'm going to show you ways to filter these observations and get down to a much smaller set of observations that you can tackle.

Our collective goal is to move as many of these Needs ID observations as possible to either Research Grade or Casual status, by confirming identifications (which move an observation towards Research Grade) or determining that the observations should be Casual (because they are cultivated plants or not identifiable to species or genus, among other reasons). (More on all that later....) We are not aiming to tear through these observations recklessly, just trying to "get rid of" as many as possible; we're trying to use our knowledge for two purposes: to add to the body of knowledge about New England plants; and to provide feedback to the observers and help them engage with the natural world. So, please remember that all of these observers deserve your respect. They may not know anything whatsoever about biodiversity - they may not be able to tell a wild plant from a cultivated one, for example - so assume the best about everyone.

Now, if you're just starting out with iNaturalist or just starting to make identifications for other observers - well, hooray and thank you, first of all! iNaturalist has a bit of a learning curve when you first start out, so if you're new to iNat, I highly recommend you read iNat's own Getting Started materials here: Try making some observations of your own and please feel free to ask me any questions you may have. (You can reach me by adding a comment to this journal post or by going to my profile page here: and sending me a private message by clicking the Message button just to the right of my user name.)

If you're new to making identifications for others on iNaturalist, look at the Identifying Observations tab on the Getting Started page I linked in the paragraph above. iNat also has some helpful videos for both people who are new to iNat and those who are new identifiers, here:

Thank you for reading all this, and please feel free to ask any questions or make any comments you have by replying to this journal post. I'll be back again soon!

Lynn Harper

Julkaistu helmikuu 14, 2023 04:37 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper


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