Interviewed for the New York Times about iNaturalist

So, a New York Times reporter, Amy Harmon, whose beat is science and society, is interested in doing a story about iNaturalist. I think maybe she wonders if the pandemic restrictions pushed more people towards taking part in iNat, although iNat has been expanding so very rapidly over the last 10 years that it may be impossible to separate one cause from another.

Several different people Amy talked to suggested that she contact me, as an extremely active NYC iNat person. So she asked me, and because she wanted to go iNatting herself, and wanted to see me in the act of iNatting, I suggested we meet up near the Harlem Meer in Central Park, on Monday February 21st.

Of course mid-February is quite a poor time of year for iNatting, even in an area that can be rich in biodiversity at warmer times of year, but one can always find something to photograph.

So we had a pretty good time. We saw a bunch of nice birds, a few lichens and some green plants.

I suggested Amy also try to interview Misha Zitster, who could give her a different perspective, since he started on iNat in fall of 2020.

Posted by susanhewitt susanhewitt, March 01, 2022 22:21

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Seductive Entodon Moss (Entodon seductrix)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:47 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Red Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:47 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Star Rosette Lichen (Physcia stellaris)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:48 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:49 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Green Bristle Grass (Setaria viridis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:49 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Ashes (Genus Fraxinus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:49 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:52 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Narrow-leaved Cattail (Typha angustifolia)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:52 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:53 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 10:59 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 11:05 AM EST

Description

A pair on the left by the little island at the west end of the Meer.

Photos / Sounds

What

Cattails (Genus Typha)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

February 21, 2022 11:11 AM EST

Comments

Amy interviewed me too. Hope it was good.

Posted by muir 6 months ago (Flag)

I just hope she gets everything she needs to write a good story which will hopefully help iNat!

Posted by susanhewitt 6 months ago (Flag)

Me too! Sometimes I feel self-conscious about coming off as overly geeky or enthusiastic when sharing or trying to communicate something I love or am passionate about on the internet with someone who isn't already equally passionate about it. So, I'm thrilled that you were able to go out into nature with her and not just talk about iNat on the phone like I did -- hopefully one day I can do the same with you!

Posted by muir 6 months ago (Flag)

Cool!

Posted by beniiiii 6 months ago (Flag)

Wonderful! Let us know when it is published!

Posted by anudibranchmom 6 months ago (Flag)

If you ever are in NYC, Muir, I would love to go out iNatting with you!

Posted by susanhewitt 6 months ago (Flag)

What an honor. I hope you're able to post a link to the article once published.

Posted by williamwisephoto 6 months ago (Flag)

I fully intend to post a link if and when a story comes out, but at this point we don't know if a story will come together or not. Fingers crossed that Amy feels that what she knows can make a coherent story.

Posted by susanhewitt 6 months ago (Flag)

Cool Susan! I have not seen any increase in interest of iNatters around here since COVID 19 (though I can't be sure). For me personally l know it has reduced some activities I could have had with local iNatters who wanted to get together and honestly in one case the person lived on a farm just a few hundred yards from many of my nature excursions. I will chance it this year though after I get my booster. My hematologist-oncologist told me I've been in remission for so long he doesn't think it's a concern to me being immunocompromised (he actually thinks I might be cured - a rather rare occurrence in this case) so I guess I'm good to go.

Being a professional journalist myself, my guess is Amy will find a story here for sure! It does not fall within my area of specialization but it seems a no-brainer to me! Have fun!!!

Posted by ken-potter 6 months ago (Flag)

Wonderful! I am sure you provided a great iNat intro! The winter visiting Northern Shovelers have been wonderful to watch. One of my favorites of the season!

Posted by jholmes 6 months ago (Flag)

@ken-potter, what I did see is an enormous increase in the number of people visiting parks and green spaces. I suppose that could have triggered an increase in interest in nature, and in working out what one is seeing. That interest combined with what feels like a rebirth of the global conservation movement, because of climate change and the current great extinction event.

Posted by susanhewitt 6 months ago (Flag)

@jholmes -- the amazing feeding circles that the Shovelers make have been highly entertaining to watch.

Posted by susanhewitt 6 months ago (Flag)

This is wonderful! Spreading the word!

Posted by steph_thecnidarian 6 months ago (Flag)

@susanhewitt That I saw for sure! Lots more people in the more public areas from what I could see of the parking lots. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) the places I go to are normally human-free, swampy, marshy, muddy lands that nobody else wants to go to.

I got a feeling I'm just not going to see these increases in interest based on where I go. I walk out the door and in a few hundred feet I'm crossing the ice or skirting the edge of a swamp or entering a woods, etc., and there is just nobody here.

It's kind of disheartening to see so many thousands of acres and nobody even walking the trails even if they are a bit muddy!

With that said, folks that go to Kennsington Metro Park would see the increase. Seems everybody wanting to shoot an Osprey or an albino deer, or feed birds from their hand go there. This is probably true of all the easier lands to navigate like the big parks!

Good luck on the article! I'm sure it will help!!

KP

Posted by ken-potter 6 months ago (Flag)

I guess if people end up becoming really deeply interested in nature, they may not mind a bit of mud, but most of us are spoiled, and want everything to be easy, convenient, and dirt-free.

I can't get most shell people I know to kneel down on the beach in promising areas in order to find tiny species of shells, so there is another example of people not really being prepared to inconvenience themselves.

Posted by susanhewitt 6 months ago (Flag)

@ken-potter -- glad to hear that your health is improving.

Posted by susanhewitt 6 months ago (Flag)

@susanhewitt I think you are right! Most folks won't pay attention to most of the smaller stuff. You know, all those pill bugs, earth worms, centipedes and beetles that get in the way when you're flipping logs for salamanders? They don't look so bad when there's no salamanders showing up to the party! LOL But at least I do see them! I guess to each his own.
I have been starting to feel quite a bit better as of late! Thanks!
Take care!
KP

Posted by ken-potter 6 months ago (Flag)

Thanks to you too!

Posted by susanhewitt 6 months ago (Flag)

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