The Appalachian Mountain Club has joined an increasing number of organizations using iNaturalist to explore life outdoors.
iNaturalist is a free app you can use on your smartphone and an online community where people explore and share observations of the natural world. Participants upload photos of plants or animals which includes information about where and when they took the picture.
Last year, the AMC piloted a project using iNaturalist in the White Mountain National Forest. Researchers asked hikers to photograph flowers and fauna along trails. In one year, 123 people observed and submitted more than 1000 observations of 137 species.
These photos provide valuable biodiversity data. In Vermont, the Atlas of Life project, active since 2012 and operated by the Vermont Center for Ecosystem Studies has documented over 7000 species in VT alone. They have discovered 12 new butterfly species previously unknown in Vermont.
In addition to tracking biodiversity, flower pictures will assist AMC’s ongoing Mountain Watch program. Mountain Watch is tracking climate change by monitoring the changes in flowering from season to season, known as phenology. This year, in addition to monitoring the White Mountain National Forest, we are extending the project to all Northeast Alpine areas.
Hike, snap photos – contribute to science!
Join iNaturalist and view our webinar training video to learn about our new project Northeast Alpine Flower Watch. This video covers a brief background on phenology and climate change, how to register for iNaturalist and using the app on your mobile device. Get tips on taking quality photos and learn about our target species. While the webinar focuses on the newer alpine zone project it also covers other projects across our region.