University Libraries Engages Nature in New iNaturalist Program: "Spring Scenes"



UNC Greensboro’s University Libraries will host “Spring Scenes: Through the Lens of UNCG Students,
Staff, Faculty, Alumni and Friends” March 19 - April 30, 2021. The program will be led by University Libraries’ Science Liaison Librarian and Assistant Professor Megan Carlton, who will introduce the iNaturalist platform to participants. 

“My goal is to get people familiar with the application and gain an awareness of nature that exists around them,” said Carlton. “This concept of contributing to research through a simple and fun task really piqued my interest.“

Participants are encouraged to safely explore and photograph nature and upload their photos to the iNaturalist website to share with others. The program is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit https://go.uncg.edu/inaturalist to register. 

iNaturalist is one of the most popular nature applications in use today. People can access and upload their photographs from anywhere by using a computer, tablet or smart phone. In 2014, iNaturalist became an initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and then a joint initiative with National Geographic Society in 2017. 

The program encourages the public to capture visually — through photography — an area of nature that helps monitor species on a global scale. 

“Essentially, iNaturalist is crowd-sourcing biodiversity data,” asserted Carlton. “But what truly makes it meaningful is that it generates research-quality information for scientists to better understand and protect the plant and animal life living in those areas.” 

Participants can take pictures of anything they want, including trees, flowers, insects, birds, squirrels — no pets though, since they are not part of the natural biodiversity in the environment. However, identifying animals that do not belong in an area, such as budgies or iguanas, can help identify areas where invasive species have taken hold.

“Ultimately, I would love for people to continue to be active users of iNaturalist after we finish the project,” declared Carlton. 


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