September 30, 2020

Great Lakes Unknownathon (October 2020)

Help Identify!

"Unknown" observations don't have any identification label at all. Many people helping identify observations on iNaturalist will filter the observations by the group of species they know how to ID (like "plants" or "insects"), so observations with no ID at all yet will be excluded from those filtered searches. Putting in a general ID helps funnel the observation to someone who might know what they're looking at so that it can get identified more quickly.

Baseline stats:


61,809 observations in the Great Lakes region without an ID

And state/province by state/province:

Let's see how low we can get these numbers by the end of October!

View a quick tutorial on how to efficiently use the Identify page here.

*Tallying observations posted to iNat before Sept 30th, 2020.

Questions:

Why the Great Lakes region?
It's where I find most interesting. :) And...I don't feel like tallying stats for more places. Though someone could probably write some simple code to tally these automatically for a bunch of places at a time, like every state or every country!

Do I have to know anything about how to identify stuff in this region?
No! Even a basic identification, like "frog", "mammal", or "flowering plant" will help other identifiers find these observations better.

I want to hang out and chitchat with other iNatters while I'm IDing unknowns. Where can I do that?
Check out the main iNaturalist Discord server or the Great Lakes Botany server.

Someone said something snarky, like "duh" or "obviously, but I want to know which species" when I added a coarse ID to their observation - what should I do?
These people usually don't understand yet how identifications work on iNaturalist. Sometimes it's best to just not respond at all, but one option is to use or modify the commonly used response for this situation. There are several listed here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/responses#addid You might even consider using some boilerplate text as you are adding IDs with some quick copy/pasting. If it was a really inappropriate comment (check the Community Guidelines), always feel comfortable flagging the comment so a curator or iNat staff can take a look.

Wait, but some of these are your observations...
Hey, that's not a question. And, sorry.

Why do some species show up in the stats as unknowns?
They're waiting to be grafted by a curator/staff, or it's an unknown bug! Yay!

Help Identify!

Posted on September 30, 2020 23:46 by bouteloua bouteloua | 2 comments | Leave a comment

May 01, 2020

Plants of the Chicago Wilderness: Stories from Home and Field (free webinar on May 7th, 6PM)

Thursday, May 7th, 2020
6PM - 7:30PM


Join us for a virtual happy hour and get a glimpse into some unique plants and habitats of the Chicago Wilderness region through the lens of ecological restoration practitioners. Learn how plants can help recreate lost ecosystems, create entirely new ones, and help us read the landscape to learn how to bring nature back to one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.

Register: https://audubon.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUqce6trz0vGN2eRwGLqwczNlUc_hrdf5PU
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/547242352583337/

Speakers:
🌻 Robb Telfer is an amateur naturalist and performance poet from Chicago. He has taught and performed in nine different countries and his writing has appeared in video games, public radio, newspapers, and magazines. 

🌻 cassi saari is a recent addition to the Chicago Park District's natural areas team where she coordinates research and monitoring and supports on-the-ground ecological restoration through mapping and planning. Her background is in field botany, ecological restoration design, and vegetation monitoring. She is a volunteer Curator on iNaturalist.org and President of the Northeast Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society.

🌻 Kevin Scheiwiller is the Restoration Manager for Citizens for Conservation, a local non-profit that focuses on restoring their land holdings while sharing resources with local forest preserve districts to expand the restoration footprint in the Barrington area.

🌻 Travis Kuntzelman is the Indian Boundary Prairies (IBP) Stewardship Manager. He restores remnant grasslands in the Lake Plain and Calumet region. IBP is located in Markham, IL and includes 5 Nature Preserves.

🌻 Lauren Umek is a Project Manager with the Chicago Park District where she became fascinated with the ecological potential of post-industrial landscapes. Her PhD research explored the impacts of land management on plants and soils but the ecosystems in the Calumet region seem to challenge existing ecological knowledge in an amazing way.

🌻 Daniel Suarez is the Stewardship Program Manager for Audubon Great Lakes, where he works to recruit, empower, and connect volunteer stewards throughout the region. He works with landowners, scientists, and monitors to understand the impacts of land management on birds through co-chairing the Chicago Wilderness Grassland Bird Task Force.

hope to see you there!
—cassi
Posted on May 01, 2020 21:53 by bouteloua bouteloua | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 22, 2020

Guiding new users toward successful iNatting

This weekend is the City Nature Challenge 2020 (CNC), a bioblitz in urban areas around the world. With hundreds of cities participating this year, iNat is about to explode with its annual flurry of activity. The observation period is this Friday, April 24th through Monday, April 27th (local time in each place).

Because there will be so many new users, and a lot of young naturalists, they may not yet realize that iNaturalist is a valued resource used by land managers, researchers, organizations, etc. and treat it more like any other social media site. They may not even know that what they're posting is being viewed by anyone but themselves, or their friends, much less the public. So here are a few tips and common responses to issues that come up very frequently during these types of bioblitzes that bring in a lot of new users.

Bookmark this page: common responses to frequent situations on iNaturalist observations, which includes some standard language for common situations like:

  • Welcome to iNaturalist
  • Not an Organism/Test Observations
  • Observation of Human
  • Add an Identification
  • Multiple Species in One Observation
  • Captive/Cultivated Organism
  • Use Your Own Photos And Observations (copyrighted photos)
  • Provide Cropped Photo
  • Rotate Photo
  • Re-order Photo
  • Missing Date
  • Missing Location
  • Imprecise Location
  • Private Location
  • Duplicate Observations
  • "Bad" Identifications
  • Misled by Computer Vision

Besides adding identifications, one of the most helpful things you can do is to mark captive animals and planted plants as "not wild" if they weren't already. You can also let the users know that they should check the captive/cultivated box before uploading (see prepared response examples). Only mark observations as "not wild" if you are confident that is the case.

You can also use the Data Quality Assessment section at the bottom of each observation to mark observations as not containing an organism at all, a clearly incorrect location or date, etc.

Identify humans as humans: Observations of humans are automatically casual grade and hidden from most areas of the site by default. There is no need to flag observations as humans unless there is some sort of grossly inappropriate content involved. A small number of observations of humans is totally fine. Pictures of pets, humans, abiotic phenomena, or obvious test observations are all okay, unless that's all someone is uploading. You can politely request they focus on appropriate subjects, and if they continue to add irrelevant content, you can flag one of the observations for a curator or staff person to take a look.

You can flag an image as copyright infringement which will replace it with a big "COPYRIGHTED MEDIA REMOVED" image and marks the observation as "casual grade." You can flag the photo directly by clicking the "i" (white circle) below the photo and clicking "Flag this photo" in the very bottom righthand corner of that page. Then choose "copyright infringement" in the pop-up and save.*

Use the Community Guidelines as a resource. If you see something clearly inappropriate and aren't able to address it yourself, or would prefer someone else to, please flag the offending content (ID, observation, comment, and/or photo). A curator or site staff can take a look and hopefully find a resolution. Some people do need to be suspended right away; check out the Community Guidelines for some of the potentially suspendable offenses.

Curators: I use these common responses to flagged issues very frequently. When in doubt, or if something is extremely inappropriate and should be deleted immediately, you can always email the staff help@inaturalist.org.


In general, assume good faith. Remember that there's a real person behind every observation, so be polite when addressing issues.

Take a break from identifying if you're feeling overwhelmed.

Check the Frequently Asked Questions page, Community Guidelines, Curator Guide, and ask if you have any questions.


Want to avoid seeing problematic content as much as possible?

Use the filters on Identify to exclude the dates of this week/weekend, only show content from users who made their account more than a week ago, or limit your searches to places outside of the CNC areas.

Learn more about using the filters on the Identify page and special search URL modifications.

Posted on April 22, 2020 14:11 by bouteloua bouteloua | 2 comments | Leave a comment

April 16, 2020

The Sidewalk Botanist Scavenger Hunt 2020

➡️Join Project

Urban botanizing in the age of COVID-19

Since most of my botanizing these days is while walking the woofer in a heavily urbanized part of Chicago, I thought I would see how many of these common urban plants I could observe in 2020. Want to join along?

Many of the species on the project list can actually be commonly found in urban areas around the world (urban species homogenization is a whole academic subfield!), but the ones on this list are particularly common in the Chicago region.

Here's a guide that shows a photo, snippet from Wikipedia, and map of observations:
https://www.inaturalist.org/guides/11608?view=card

happy botanizing,
—cassi

Posted on April 16, 2020 22:23 by bouteloua bouteloua | 3 comments | Leave a comment

April 14, 2020

Being an iNaturalist Curator - Discord Chat on Saturday, April 18th at 6PM CDT

That was fun, so we're doing it again:

Being an iNaturalist Curator

Saturday, April 18th at 6PM Central Daylight Time (see in your local timezone)


We'll have a group chat, with @bouteloua screensharing / presenting, about what it's like to be a curator and what some of the common tasks are. If you're already a curator, feel free to join in and add your perspective!

To attend, download Discord’s software or mobile app (there are issues viewing the stream in a browser)
  • Join the iNaturalist Discord server: https://discord.gg/eCD4WvT
  • Under Voice Channels, open the General chat a little before it starts
  • Once @bouteloua begins screen sharing, you will need to Join Stream
  • We have a concurrent text chat at #v-of-the-c too
  • Please mute yourself when not talking :)
You can submit questions ahead of time here.

Basic outline:

  • Who are iNaturalist Curators?
  • What Curators can & can't do
  • Taxonomic curation
    • External authorities & policies
    • Adding missing species
    • Ungrafted taxa
    • Taxon changes
    • Locked & "complete" taxa
    • Taxon framework relationships
  • Editing geoprivacy
  • Spam patrol & false positive spam resolution
  • Resolving flags
  • Community Guidelines & moderation
  • How to become a Curator
  • Additional resources
  • Q&A - you can submit questions ahead of time here
Hope to "see" you there!
—cassi
Posted on April 14, 2020 18:31 by bouteloua bouteloua | 3 comments | Leave a comment

April 10, 2020

Being an iNaturalist Curator - Discord Chat tomorrow, April 11th at 6PM CDT

Being an iNaturalist Curator

Saturday, April 11th at 6PM Central Daylight Time (see in your local timezone)


We'll have a group chat, with @bouteloua screensharing / presenting, about what it's like to be a curator and what some of the common tasks are. If you're already a curator, feel free to join in and add your perspective!

-What is an iNaturalist Curator?
-What do they do?
-How do taxon changes work?
-Does iNat need more Curators?
-How do I become one?
etc!

To attend, join the iNaturalist Discord server: https://discord.gg/WvZSdfA
-Under Voice Channels, join the General channel a little before 6PM CDT.
-Once it starts, hit "join stream".
-Be sure to mute yourself when not talking. :)

Please reach out with any questions (at any time, now and in the future). To submit questions to be answered during the chat tomorrow, you can add them here. :)

thanks!
—cassi
Posted on April 10, 2020 21:43 by bouteloua bouteloua | 14 comments | Leave a comment

January 26, 2020

January 07, 2020

Survey Grants in Illinois for Scouting Threatened, Endangered, and Rare Species Populations

The Illinois Native Plant Society (INPS) has a new grant type available in 2020: the Survey Grant Program. This grant, up to $1500, will fund searches for Illinois Endangered, Threatened, or Rare species for which current data is inadequate to assess their status and for which field surveys and recovery recommendations are needed. INPS is working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to develop a priority list for the surveys. Experienced botanical field surveyors, either independent or associated with an institution, are invited to apply for this grant. Partnerships are encouraged.

The Survey Grant Program was developed to assess the status of Illinois Endangered and Threatened species through comprehensive field surveys in order to: 1) determine whether populations (Element Occurrences or EOs) are extant; 2) determine whether their listing status warrants change; 3) recommend recovery strategies for extant populations. The reports resulting from these surveys will be shared with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Database, the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board, and with landowners.

Learn more and apply here: https://illinosplants.org/2020-survey-grant/

The deadline is January 31st, so don't put it off!

Posted on January 07, 2020 15:33 by bouteloua bouteloua | 1 comment | Leave a comment

January 03, 2020

Nature & Science Book Swap @ INPS Chapter Meeting Jan 26th

On Sunday, January 26th, 2020 from 2PM to 5PM, join the Illinois Native Plant Society for the Northeast Chapter's Annual Chapter Meeting at Thatcher Woods in River Forest, Illinois.

We will gather for a brief meeting, including the awarding of the top participants in the Illinois Botanists Big Year 2019, followed by a nature and science-themed book swap.

This is a great event to learn about the Illinois Native Plant Society and meet other people interested in native plants. No need to be a member to attend. Light snacks and beverages will be provided. **Help us plan by RSVPing here: http://bit.ly/ne2020

Types of Books to Bring for the Book Swap:
🌿Field guides - of plants, animals, fungi, rocks, stars: anything related to the natural world
🌿Non-fiction related to nature and science
🌿Fiction related to nature and science
(Please do not bring: magazines, journals, or extremely outdated textbooks)

Book Swap Rules:

  1. Receive one ticket per book you bring
  2. During Round 1, you may exchange your ticket(s) for a book(s)
  3. Round 2 is a free-for-all; all books are up for grabs

Books remaining at the end of the event will be donated. If you have questions about the meeting or book swap, contact northeast.inps@gmail.com

**Help us plan by RSVPing here:
http://bit.ly/ne2020

Posted on January 03, 2020 20:17 by bouteloua bouteloua | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 20, 2019

Illinois Native Plant Society Mixer @ The Garage Bar (aka Wink & Swillhelm)

Next month!

Wink & Swillhelm at The Garage Bar

Friday, October 18th, 2019
starting at 6:30PM and going to 9:30PMish or whenever
at The Garage Bar & Sandwiches, 6154 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago (Norwood Park)

Come meet and hang with other local botany and ecology enthusiasts at The Garage Bar in northwest Chicago! We'll be in the room upstairs. FB event for people who like that: https://www.facebook.com/events/2403057686577194/

Pretty informal, come whenever and no need to RSVP nor to be a current INPS member.
Though you should join! :) https://illinosplants.org/northeast-chapter/

In case you were wondering, Wink and Swillhelm is just a little play on Swink and Wilhelm's "Plants of the Chicago Region", an important book on our regional plant identification and ecology. :)

Hope to see you there!


fyi to some folks who have made observations in the area @aerintedesco @amyjurkowski @andrea14 @andrewphassos @anmolsingh1 @asampang @brdnrdr @dbild @deansy @debant @deirdre6767 @dziomber @eddiemoya @elfaulkner @grantfessler @iacampoverde @ilemma @inotherwordsfly @jackassgardener @jmmcclo @joelmc @js175 @k0zi @kennedy9094 @kpclemenz @liamoconnor11 @lukehuff @mabunimeh @maureenclare @mavina4 @mross5 @nathanbealedelvecchio @nicholasbiernadski @obamagaming @orbweb @ornithopsis @palmer1 @paulroots @pavoss64 @pfautsch @rachaelpatterson @rgraveolens @ruabean @sampickerill @sanguinaria33 @skrentnyjeff @susiesodini @taco2000 @tmurphy4 @tomlally @ulaniluu @yetikat
(and sorry if some of y'all that I tagged are under 21)

Posted on September 20, 2019 13:24 by bouteloua bouteloua | 2 comments | Leave a comment