Journal archives for November 2018

06 November, 2018

Schools using iNaturalist... What do you think?

I do adore iNaturalist -- those that know me know that I'm totally bonkers about iNat. I learn so much personally, I use it a lot professionally, and it's great fun. :)

Venting alert!

I know this is a magnificent tool, but it drains me when a school uses it without LOADS of guidance from the teachers/professors. iNat has a wonderful teacher's guide, and I wish wish wish that more teachers would use it.

This is not to say that some students don't totally run with the tool and provide some magnificent records. However, for that to happen, lots of stewardship of the data has to come from the teachers.

I'm putting all of this in a journal entry to let you know how I typically deal with student observations. It's fairly easy to see a student observation -- it's around a school, and it's usually a cultivated plant or classroom pet. :) I usually spam lots and lots of the observations with something along these lines:


If you would, please tell your teacher/professor to give some extra guidance on how to use iNaturalist properly. Some of these observations could use some extra help.

He/she should look at all of these observations, give some pointers on the difference between cultivated/captive and wild organisms, and assist with how to properly take pictures for identification.'s+guide
Also, if there is a great getting started page that you should check out too:


In some cases, I'll even create a place all around the campus of the school and link to that so that the teacher could use it to watch all of the observations coming in...

By all means, feel free to copy and paste this message (or modify it as you'd like to) and post it as much as you'd like on student observations! :)

Posted on 06 November, 2018 20:35 by sambiology sambiology | 7 comments | Leave a comment

11 November, 2018

"iNaturalist as a tool to expand the research value of museum specimens"

A wonderful paper that folks should print out and read! (or just read...)

Big time kudos to @jmheberling @huntingbon and @mmwebb for publishing this. As someone who worked in a herbarium (BRIT) for just a few years, I too really appreciate iNaturalist as a supplemental tool to the natural history collection of plants. Now, I'm using the tool as a supplement to public engagement on land management and public policy. Faults it may indeed have, but there's a tremendous amount of benefit that this tool gives all of us.

It's a great article! Well done.

Heberling, J. M., and B. L. Isaac. 2018. iNaturalist as a tool to expand the research value of museum specimens. Applications in Plant Sciences 6(11): e1193. (8 pages)

Posted on 11 November, 2018 16:29 by sambiology sambiology | 9 comments | Leave a comment

21 November, 2018

Mark the calendars -- a TX bioblitz/gathering! 17-20 May 2019! Timberlake Field Station, Mills County, TX

So, what are you doing like 6 months from now? Let's gather for another fun TX bioblitz!

@pfau_tarleton had mentioned a fairly recently acquired piece of land by Tarleton State University in Mills County (central TX) that would be a nice spot for a bioblitz. Most importantly, Mills County has very few observations, so this will be a fun way to fill some gaps and document lots of stuff.

Russell Pfau has put together this document about the bioblitz/gathering:

Just in case, here it is copy and pasted:

Tarleton State University’s Timberlake Biological Field Station is an educational and research facility located on the Colorado River in the heart of Texas--midway between Austin and Abilene. The 790 acre property has approximately 2.88 miles of river frontage. Information about the facility can be found here:

Observations at the Field Station (within the polygon encompassing the property) can be found here:

The facility is correctly located on Google maps. Coordinates are 31.269722,-98.6245465.

Nearest airports: Killeen-Fort Hood Regional (64 miles away) and Austin-Bergstrom International (110 miles away)

For overnight accommodations onsite, there is plenty of room for tents, and restroom facilities with showers are at the camping area. A small bunkhouse is available, but as of now, all the bunkbeds are taken! Goldthwaite is the closest town (16 miles away) and has a couple of small-town motels. San Saba is 30 miles away with more upscale hotel accommodations and B&Bs. Most of this mileage is on gravel roads (to both Goldthwaite and San Saba), so expect the drive to San Saba to take up to an hour depending on road conditions.

Electricity is available near the camping area, which is adjacent to the river bottom.

Drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited at the field station.

For more information, contact Russell Pfau.
iNaturalist: @pfau_tarleton

Also, in the bioblitzes of the past, we've gone to several locations, and there are some nice other spots nearby: Colorado Bend State Park and Lake Brownwood State Park aren't too too far away. But, I'm planning on staying at Timberlake to document as much as possible. Should be a blast! :)

If you want to see the bioblitz from last year, enjoy what @tiwane put together:

Please let me know if you can make it, or if you have any questions/concerns. :) Oh, and tag other folks that you want to include.

Posted on 21 November, 2018 19:16 by sambiology sambiology | 111 comments | Leave a comment