September 21, 2018

Neighbourhood Nature Nosey

Neighbourhood Nature Nosey 2018 is an umbrella project on iNaturalist NZ for Conservation Week 2018, Sep 15–Sep 23, 2018. We've set it up so that NZ regions can compete to see which is the nosiest for nature. Help get your region to the top of the leaderboard!

Find as many species as you can during New Zealand's Conservation Week 2018!

How many wild species can you find? Which species are native? Can you find something rare or unusual? Make observations with the free iNaturalist app and find out!

Join in and make your region the top region for 2018!

For the duration of Conservation Week 2018 we, at iNaturalist NZ, are running a kind of neighbourhood Bioblitz. This runs from midnight on Saturday, 15th through to midnight on Sunday 23rd September. Find and record as many plants, animals and fungi in and around your yard and street or block as you can and iNaturalist NZ will identify them.

We are aggregating this information regionally so we can build a picture of the diversity around the country in the places people live, work and play. Each day we'll prompt you to look in particular habitats around your home and neighbourhood, and to leave no log or stone unturned in search for creatures large and small. We are especially interested in learning what is wild, and what is not, and what is native and what is not. Please make sure you tick the captive/cultivated box if your observation is planted or domesticated.

Join this project to get the prompts we'll send out over the next 9 days to remind you to view the natural world through various lenses to build an amazing inventory of all the species that live around you. You don’t need to do these observations on the days of the prompts, but it is just to remind you to cover off all the habitats during the course of the week.

Please note down the habitat of your species (e.g, lawn, vegetable garden, house wall, under log) in your observations’ Descriptions. Check each day for birds (you can still record them even if you can’t get a picture), and don’t forget the creepy crawlies and moulds.

If you are concerned about revealing your exact locations then you can choose to iNaturalist's “obscured” geoprivacy option to publicly obscure your location to 10 km.

Posted on September 21, 2018 07:51 PM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 13, 2018

Let's enter New Zealand cities in the 2019 City Nature Challenge

Important: the deadline for city registration for the 2019 City Nature Challenge is 21 September 2018


Some of you might be aware of the annual City Nature Challenge on iNaturalist. The event began as an LA versus San Francisco event, sponsored by the California Academy of Science and the LA Natural History Museum. Last year it went properly global and 2019 promises to be an even more fully global event.

Here's the 2018 City Nature Challenge:

Cities compete to see which one can log the most nature observations on iNaturalist over one long weekend. It's a great excuse to get everyone outside looking at nature. To help boost public engagement and observations, it's a good idea (optional) to run public events and other promotions during the event.

iNaturalist NZ is keen to get New Zealand cities entered into the 2019 event. We can see which is the top city in NZ, and hopefully give iNaturalist.org's home town of San Francisco a run for their money. San Francisco won the 2019 event with 42,804 observations.

For New Zealand cities to be an official part of the 2019 City Nature Challenge, we have to register each participating city by 21 September 2018. There's no cost and no big commitment in time. The organisers just want to know that there is a person, or institution, within a city that can help to push the event. In return, that city gets added to the official competition.

It would be great if we can get the bigger cities in NZ participating in this, and even better if we can inspire our big iNat NZ community to beat all of those pesky American cities.

For more details, see this post on iNaturalist.org and especially note the comment by @carrieseltzer including links to background information for event organisers and to the Google Docs spreadsheet where you can sign up your city.

Feel free to use the comments below, or message each other, to talk about the potential for running an event in your city.

To start the conversation, I include below the most active iNaturalist NZ observers/identifiers from each NZ city:

Whangarei @clinton @shaun-lee @predomalpha @tangatawhenua

Auckland @jacqui-nz @stephen_thorpe @kaipatiki_naturewatch @pjd1 @jack4 @bcal003 @aunty @fairyeagle @nicholasmaynenz @dwilson @mikey_crikey @marleyii

Hamilton @marystg @davidwhyte @onethousandthousandwheelingeyes @nathaniel2002 @angelasimpson @neil_fitzgerald

Tauranga @bbi2 @cappinkiwi @jacqui-nz @jefffryett

Rotorua @kaitao @chrismoody @angelasimpson @witherst @arpugh @stevepawson

New Plymouth @simonnicholas @emily_r @oakura @warrensmart @kelvinperrie @enzedfred @arnim

Napier-Hastings @mike68lusk @tim_hopley

Gisborne @ kiwifergus @lisa_bennett @mrutherford

Palmerston North @grey @zoology @johnflower

Whanganui @xplore @bug_me

Wellington @tony_wills @leonperrie @savvy @naturewatchwidow @ johnvandenhoeven @lisa_bennett @parkecology @zealandia @andymckay @d_kluza @ caqalai @jeremy_rolfe @siobhanleachman @philg-j

Nelson @johnb-nz @memopob @duncanmc42 @rembrandt @absoluteandy @rogerfrost

Christchurch @jon_sullivan @joepb @meurkc @grahame @reinderw @katemccombs @melissa_hutchison @alice_shanks @steveattwood @cooperj @shona_t @nessmander @gregs @edwilson @laura-nz

Dunedin @john_barkla @steve_kerr @david_lyttle @katiew @johnsteel @possumsend @nikbaines

Invercargill @esler @thurst @bethanyhb @environmentsouthland

iNaturalist NZ and the NZ Bio-recording Network Trust are keen to help to promote your city's involvement in the event. Please let us know how we can support you in your city.

Posted on September 13, 2018 04:55 AM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan | 1 comments | Leave a comment

July 01, 2018

From NatureWatch NZ to iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao

This past month has been a busy time for our team. As many of you know, we rebranded from NatureWatch NZ to iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao.

iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao is a place for New Zealanders to share what they see in nature, set up citizen science and community-based monitoring projects, meet other nature watchers, and learn about Aotearoa's unique natural history.

Our website is exactly as it was before, but with a new name, a new web address (https://inaturalist.nz), and more security.


We have always powered the website using a version of iNaturalist.org’s global, open source technology that we optimised to record observations within New Zealand. Many of you will already recognise the name iNaturalist as it is the free mobile application that you use to add observations on the go.

All observations, projects, species, people, maps and places remain exactly as they were before. They are regularly backed up and stored by our international partner, iNaturalist, at the California Academy of Sciences.

Your usernames and passwords remain the same — the only thing that has changed is the web address and our brand.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and enthusiasm over the years.

Together, more than 9,000 observers have made over half a million observations from across Aotearoa.

This extraordinary effort puts us on the global map as having the most observations per capita on the iNaturalist network.

Our flourishing community has not disappeared nor been merged into iNaturalist.org as the old website currently states. iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao retains its unique identity and continues to function as it always has.

Already, we are looking to the future and have exciting plans to expand our scope, relevance, and application — watch this space!

We are making every effort to minimise disruption caused by the rebranding. However, it is possible that our move has affected existing links, apps, and other services that were operating from the old domain name.

If you find any issues or require help, feel free to contact our support team (help@inaturalist.nz) for assistance.

We will post updates here our website blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter.


Ngā mihi nui,

The team at New Zealand Bio-Recording Network Trust

 

Please note that we have no control over our old domain (naturewatch.org.nz). This means we are not responsible for any content posted there nor does it represent the views of the New Zealand Bio-Recording Network, iNaturalist NZ, or the global iNaturalist network. Some information posted on the old domain is potentially misleading and has no official connection to the New Zealand Bio-Recording Network Trust that operates iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao (formerly known as NatureWatch NZ).


Frequently Asked Questions



Who runs iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao (previously NatureWatch NZ)?

iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao is managed by the New Zealand Bio-Recording Network Trust (NZBRN Trust), a registered Charitable Trust in New Zealand.

What does Mātaki Taiao mean?

Mātaki Taiao is our Māori name and translates to watching nature. The word Mātaki means to gaze, watch, inspect, examine, or observe. Taiao translates to the natural world around us.

What happens to existing NatureWatch NZ links?

All previous naturewatch.org.nz links are now broken. Any links or widgets to the old website will need to be updated.

This can be done simply by replacing “naturewatch.org.nz” with “inaturalist.nz” in any web address.

For example:

naturewatch.org.nz/observations/9004912

BECOMES

https://inaturalist.nz/observations/9004912

If you have a large number of links to update, consider using the “find and replace” function.

What is iNaturalist.org and the iNaturalist Network?

iNaturalist.org is a hosted citizen science platform operated from the California Academy of Sciences and co-owned by National Geographic.

iNaturalist.org developers maintain the code base that operates iNaturalist NZ and our server, which securely stores your data. They also develop the mobile application that is used by iNaturalist NZ users.

iNaturalist NZ is one of a growing number of international partners in the iNaturalist Network.

Am I subscribed to iNaturalist NZ (formerly NatureWatch NZ) or iNaturalist.org?

Most users in New Zealand are using iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao. If you signed up using the iNaturalist app, you will have seen a pop-up window asking whether you would like to use the localised app. By agreeing, you signed up to iNaturalist NZ (formerly NatureWatch NZ).

However, users who didn’t agree to localise their app, or who first signed up at iNaturalist.org, are not officially part of the iNaturalist NZ community. This means we do not have access to their email addresses and have not been able to contact them directly about these changes. Please feel free to forward this email on and help us spread the word.

If you’re not sure whether you are part of the iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao community, visit your Account Settings on the iNaturalist NZ website (located by clicking your user icon on the top-right menu) and look at the “iNaturalist Network Affiliation” section.

How can I find iNaturalist NZ on social media?

We have updated our username, which means the links to find our social media profiles have changed. Our official Facebook page is now facebook.com/inaturalistnz and our official Twitter is now twitter.com/inaturalistnz.

The content and community remain the same. We will continue to use these pages to share official updates, news, and observations.

If you want to share your observations or get a species identified, please share it on the iNaturalist NZ website or use the iNaturalist app so our community of experts can help.

What is a domain?

All websites require a domain name and a server. The content of the website is hosted on the server and the domain name points people to that information through a web address (URL).

The iNaturalist NZ website (which includes all observations, projects, species, people, maps and places) is securely hosted on the iNaturalist servers.

Where can I read more about the rebranding?

You can read more about the shift to our new brand on the on our previous blog post. Check for updates here or on Facebook or Twitter.

Posted on July 01, 2018 10:18 AM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan | 4 comments | Leave a comment

May 23, 2018

Nature Watch in New Zealand with iNaturalist NZ

Dear valued NatureWatch NZ user,

As you may be aware our NatureWatch NZ website unexpectedly shut down on the afternoon of Monday, 21 May 2018.

Please note that all of your observations are safe as all data are stored with our international partner, iNaturalist.

Trustees of the New Zealand Bio-Recording Network Trust, which operates NatureWatch NZ, have been unable to resolve a long-standing domain name issue. NatureWatch.org.nz was owned and managed on the Trust’s behalf by a third party. When NatureWatch NZ was launched, it was done so on the basis that the domain would be transferred to the Trust. That did not occur and, despite numerous requests, the domain has remained with the third party. The recent shutdown by the third party demonstrates the reasons why it is essential that the Trust has full access and control over its domain. We have endeavoured to determine why the domain registration was cancelled on Monday. The third party is overseas and has not yet responded to our enquiries. The Trustees wish to engage all the NatureWatch NZ community in a discussion about future decisions.

After carefully weighing up all options (including seeking to have the naturewatch.org.nz domain transferred through the Courts) the majority of Trustees have resolved that the least disruptive option is to relocate NatureWatch NZ to a new domain. As part of our efforts over the last few days to restore NatureWatch NZ we have been in close contact with our iNaturalist partners in the USA. They have indicated that they were about to initiate a process of consultation with partners about closer alignment with the global iNaturalist brand across the growing global iNaturalist Network, of which NatureWatch NZ is the New Zealand member. Although this global decision has not yet been made the Trustees propose that we look forward and switch our domain and the NatureWatch NZ community to iNaturalist.NZ. This aligns the Trust with the proposed future direction of our international partners, ensures brand consistency with the mobile iNaturalist apps, and will minimise any potential future disruptions.



The Trustees will be meeting on 20 June to vote on the brand/domain issue. We seek your feedback on the Trustees’ proposal to align with the international iNaturalist brand. Whilst our name will change, we will retain all our existing NZ specific functionality, e.g., community of users, places, maps, projects, etc. Feedback can be made in a comment below, or on the Trust Facebook page, or sent to naturewatchnz@gmail.com. Please ensure that any responses are sent by 5 pm on Friday 15 June.

While the Trustees are making every effort to minimise disruption, our move will affect existing external links, apps and other services that are operating from the current NatureWatch NZ platform (see FAQs below for solutions). From today (24 May) we are operational as iNaturalist.NZ and that will be the case at least until the future brand is confirmed at the next Trust meeting.

We aim to quickly resolve any technical issues with this changeover. If you have any technical inquiries please email naturewatchnz@gmail.com for assistance. We will keep users regularly updated here at iNaturalist.NZ and on our Facebook page.

The Trustees would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and enthusiasm over our first 5 and a half years as NatureWatch NZ. Together we have built an extraordinary resource of over half a million records made by more than 9,000 observers. You can all be proud that together we have made NZ a world leader in citizen bio-recording. We appreciate your patience while we get through this difficult period and resume ‘normal transmission’ and an upward trajectory.

Kindest regards,

New Zealand Bio-Recording Network Trust


Frequently Asked Questions:



Who runs NatureWatch NZ?


NatureWatch NZ is managed by the New Zealand Bio-Recording Network Trust (NZBRN Trust). The NZBRN Trust is a registered Charitable Trust in NZ.

What is iNaturalist and the iNaturalist Network?


iNaturalist is based at the California Academy of Sciences and maintain the code base that operates NatureWatch NZ and our dedicated server that securely stores your data. NatureWatch NZ is one of several international partners in what is referred to as the iNaturalist Network. iNaturalist also operate the phone app service used by many NatureWatch NZ users.

Do you currently subscribe to NatureWatch NZ or are you contributing via iNaturalist?


Some users in New Zealand are not yet aligned with the NatureWatch NZ community but operate via iNaturalist when using their phone app. We do not have access to their email addresses and so have not been able to contact them directly about these changes. If you have friends that use NatureWatch NZ or the iNaturalist app in NZ please make sure they are aware of this change.

What is the NatureWatch NZ Facebook page?


www.facebook.com/nzbrn/

What is a domain?


A domain is a text address that points your web browser to the appropriate IP (Internet Protocol) Address which is a series of numbers that tells your browser where to obtain the relevant content for that site.

What will happen to existing NatureWatch NZ links?


Unfortunately any URL linkages and widgets will no longer work in their previous form as they rely solely on www.naturewatch.org.nz. At this stage we know that the iNaturalist phone app is unaffected by these changes but we are yet to determine the impact on third party phone apps that rely on the API functionality. Some may have issues but it will depend on the how those apps were developed so issues are likely to arise on a case by case basis. URLs (we addresses) can be updated by pointing them to the new domain name. For example:

Old: naturewatch.org.nz/observations/9004912

New: inaturalist.nz/observations/9004912



Posted on May 23, 2018 11:23 PM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan | 35 comments | Leave a comment

November 26, 2017

Myrtle rust reporter

Download the free app: iPhone, Android

Back in April NatureWatch NZ brought you the sad news that myrtle rust had been found in Northland and we asked the community to keep an eye out for it. We now have a new weapon in the fight against the plant disease myrtle rust, currently threatening a number of New Zealand’s native species, including pōhutukawa, ramarama, northern and southern rātā and manuka.

It's a smartphone app to help you report myrtle rust, developed by the Northland Regional Council, Scion, Envirolink, Te Tira Whakamātaki (Maori Biosecurity Network), Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, and MPI. The app works with NatureWatchNZ so that all NZ’ers can assist in a surveillance campaign to find myrtle rust.

The myrtle rust reporter app is freely available in the iPhone and Android app stores. We encourage you to give this new bilingual app a go and use it to record a dozen potential host plants in your community. You will become the kaitiaki (or guardian) of these specific plants. Check these plants regularly and look for telltale yellow spores on new growth. If you think you’ve found myrtle rust, remember not to touch the plant or the symptoms. Take a picture and submit your record using the app. Then immediately phone MPI on 0800 80 99 66. The investigator on the phone will use your app username to look up your record and discuss your photo with you.

It’s super important that you do record your host plants so that we all know what plants you are looking after. Myrtle rust has so far been found in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, and Te Puke, however New Zealand’s a big place and myrtle rust has tiny little spores so as a group we need to make sure we cover as much of New Zealand as possible. Check out where other people are helping by visiting the myrtle rust reporter project where we will update you with progress.

Posted on November 26, 2017 07:55 PM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan | 3 comments | Leave a comment

April 11, 2017

If you see bright yellow powder on a plant – DON’T TOUCH IT!

Myrtle rust is a serious fungal disease of plants. Although it is not present on the New Zealand mainland it has recently been detected on Raoul Island. This fungus has a wide host range within the Myrtaceae, a family of plants that include many of New Zealand’s most iconic trees, e.g., pōhutukawa, rata, manuka, kanuka and important introduced species like Eucalyptus and one of our favourite autumn fruits, the feijoa.

Myrtle rust often attacks fresh new growth and early infestations are characterised by yellow powdery eruptions on the surface of leaves as well as flowers, fruits, buds, and shoots. The spores themselves are microscopic so you won’t see them. However, don’t touch the yellow powder as you will coat yourself and your clothes in spores — potentially spreading the disease further. Further information can be found in this MPI fact sheet.

What should you do if you see something suspicious?


  • Take a photo, log your observation on Naturewatch NZ.

  • Don’t touch it and if you accidently come in contact make sure you bag your clothing and wash clothes, bags and boots when you get home.

  • Immediately ring 0800 809966 and have your NatureWatch User ID or the observation ID on hand and MPI can quickly review your observation and provide additional advice.


This rust is a serious issue and the earlier we can detect an incursion the more chance there is that something can be done about it. So remember, take a photo, log your obs and give MPI a call as soon as you can.

Help protect New Zealand, get out there and keep looking.

Thanks from the NatureWatch NZ Team


Myrtle rust is easy to overlook at first. Be sure to report any orange rust fungus you find on an plant in the Myrtaceae family. Photos © Ministry for Primary Industries (used with permission).




Posted on April 11, 2017 09:18 AM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan | 2 comments | Leave a comment

December 16, 2016

You can help promote Brown Marmorated Stink Bug biocontrol

Plant and Food Research are currently conducting research on the potential to use a parasitic wasp (Trissolcus japonicus) as a biocontrol option should a population of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) be detected in New Zealand. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an awful pest overseas and can have big impacts on crops like grapes. It's something we definitely do not want establishing in NZ, and yet border biosecurity officers have detected this species multiple times at NZ's borders. If we don't act, it's likely only a matter of time before it establishes here.

A population of the BMSB-specialist wasp would be released and seek out and parasitise BMSB eggs reducing population pressure. In combination with chemical control this would maximise the chances of eradicating BMSB before it became problematic.  To enable the import of T. japonicus it is important to understand its potential impact on New Zealand’s current shield bug populations. Plant & Food Research need a supply of shield bugs to test whether T. japonicus parasitises them as well as BMSB. You can help!

Please keep a close look out for either of the following bugs.


Brown Shield Bug (Dictyotus caenosus) (Observed by lek November 23, 2016)


Schellenberg's Soldier Bug (Oechalia schellenbergii) (Observed by epitree October 9, 2015)

They might be confused with the brown soldier bug (also called the glossy shield bug), which we don’t need. If you can’t tell the difference then we’re happy to add them to our colony.


Brown Soldier Bug (Cermatulus nasalis) (Observed by epitree February 14, 2015)

If any are found can you please contact Sophie at Sophie.hunt@plantandfood.co.nz. She'd be very grateful for your help.

If you do find any Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (we really hope you don’t!), be sure to report them ASAP.


Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys) (Observed by claggy September 23, 2016 in USA)

Please, catch it, snap it, report it – call the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) at 0800 80 9966, put it in a self-sealing bag pop it in the freezer. If you're not sure, please call MPI anyway and you can add a photo to NatureWatch NZ to check the ID.

Posted on December 16, 2016 09:12 AM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan | 4 comments | Leave a comment

September 06, 2016

Join us for this year's Great Kererū Count, 16–25 September 2016

The Great Kererū Count is the largest national citizen science project to help gather information on the abundance and distribution of the New Zealand Pigeon — also known as kererū, kūkū or kūkupa. The Great Kererū Count will take place over 10 full days from 16 to 25 September 2016. It's the time for all New Zealanders to get together and do a population health check for these amazing birds. So get ready to get out and about and make your kererū count.

NatureWatch NZ is the place for your kererū counts and you've got three ways to get your counts loaded in. Like everything on NatureWatch NZ, they're all free.

You can enter your counts directly into the Great Kererū Count 2016 project on the NatureWatch NZ website at https://inaturalist.nz/projects/great-kereru-count-2016 This option is best if you're already hooked on NatureWatch NZ or are keen to become part of New Zealand's largest online community of nature watchers. Use NatureWatch NZ if you've got photos of your counted kererū to share.

NatureWatch NZ users can also count on the go by logging into NatureWatch NZ from the iNaturalist app (Android, iOS). This is a great way to quickly upload kererū photos taken on your smart phone.

If you're in a rush or don't want to deal with the hassle of signing up for NatureWatch NZ, you can add your observations to the web form on the Great Kererū Count website at http://greatkererucount.nz/ Their web form loads your counts into NatureWatch NZ too, but it does so anonymously and without the ability to add photos. It's built for you flyby kererū counters out there who are keen to quickly share a kererū count then get back to your busy lives until next year's count.

kereru

The Great Kereru Count people have put together some nice detailed instructions for each of those options if you're a first time kererū counter or in case you run into any problems getting started. The NatureWatch NZ team will also be available, as we always are, at help@inaturalist.nz.

Our colleagues at Victoria University in Wellington have been busy analysing the results of last year's mighty kererū count. You can read about their findings in their report here (although, caution, it's not light bedtime reading). The more people get involved, and the more years the kererū count runs, the more we'll learn.

Posted on September 06, 2016 02:36 AM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 01, 2016

Changes on NatureWatch NZ

If you're a long-time user of NatureWatch NZ, you will have noticed some changes to the site recently. Along with the rest of the iNaturalist network, we've been gradually updating the site to (hopefully) make it easier to use for new users and more efficient for everyone else. The iNaturalist developers in San Francisco has been working hard on this for a while now.

One of the biggest recent changes was to our ID Please page. It's now the Identify page and it's geared up to help you to help others to identify their photos and sounds. You can now search on the taxon (e.g., starfish, or sharks, or daisies) you have some expertise in and then flick through all the observations waiting for ID. Once you get the hang of it, it's quite a bit quicker than our old page.

More recently, we've just flicked the switch to take you straight to your Dashboard if you're signed in. And that Dashboard has had facelift to (hopefully) make it more intuitive for new comers. To see the old NatureWatch NZ front page, you need to be signed out. It's now what people new to the site see (and we'll be reworking it soon to make it more inviting for new users).

The other big change is a brand new Add Observation page. It's currently available at https://inaturalist.nz/observations/upload but will soon replace our old add an observation page which was been widely regarded as intimidatingly complicated by new users when we've been out in the community running tutorials. You can do all the same things with the new page, but it's hidden away some of the complexity. The minimum you need to do now is just drag a photo onto the webpage and pushing the Submit button.

We hope you like some of the changes. We also appreciate your patience. We know that any change is disruptive. Together with our iNaturalist partners, we're trying to make NatureWatch NZ as inviting and intuitive for new users as we can, while still containing all of the wonderful flexibility and rich features that our long-time users have come to rely on.

Cheers!

The NatureWatch NZ team (help@inaturalist.nz)

Posted on July 01, 2016 01:37 AM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan | 3 comments | Leave a comment