Journal archives for January 2024

01 January, 2024

My biggest year ever! It's been a good one. :)

What a great 2023!!!

I was incredibly fortunate to get to go outside every day during 2023 -- no doubt, I'm lucky to live in a place and in a position where I can do this. I've kept up with my daily observation streak, (inspired by @jmaughn !) and focused this year on trying to find some species that I'd not seen before. @muir also inspired me to pursue a bit of a 'big year!' I'm frequently inspired by so many here on iNat -- folks I've met and folks I've not yet met!

In 2023, I was able to see and engage with around 4556 unique taxa -- more than I've ever documented before! I was able to take a few road trips, travel to different spots in the US for conferences, and even look closer at some of my frequently visited parks close to home.

Here is my Year in Review:

In 2022, I was able to document 4032 taxa.
In 2021, it was 3818.
In 2020, it was 3626.
In 2019, it was 4012 (this was the year I went to Costa Rica!)
In 2018, it was 2683.
In 2017, it was 3369.
In 2016, it was 2430.
In 2015, it was 2270.
In 2014, it was 976.
In 2013, it was 486...
(all these numbers may change a bit as they're curated or ID'ed or corrected!)

Each year, I've been so dang lucky to explore and engage with nature each year and each day. Also, I'm extremely lucky to be able to use iNaturalist to engage with the community of naturalists! Next year, I'm super excited to travel a bit further than I've ever traveled before (Saudi Arabia!), and I look forward to seeing even more new things!!!

Happy 2024!

Posted on 01 January, 2024 01:42 by sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | Leave a comment

03 January, 2024

Goals for 2024 on iNaturalist...

So, last year, I was super lucky to drive around and visit some of the eastern part of the United States -- several new places for me, and that was great! I observed a lot of new for me species ('lifers'), and overall, just had a great year full of nature!

In 2024, I'm planning a bit of the same -- only this time, a bit more on the western part... at least western part of Texas! I'm planning a road trip to Colorado, perhaps, so that's a bit more west! Then, the trip to Saudi will be filled with new things (soooo excited about this!). Hopefully I'll still be able to get some daily observations and find some time to explore outside every day.

I've had to narrow down my ID'ing to my region... The exponential growth of iNat here in Texas is magnificent, but I've only had the energy to sometimes look at just Dallas/Fort Worth observations... I'll keep doing as many ID's as I can!

One of the new goals that I'm creating for myself is to interact with more folks from around the world here on iNat. The observations of the day and the week are so freaking inspirational (big time thanks for these write-ups, @tiwane!), so I want to engage with more of the global community on iNaturalist!

With the global growth of iNaturalist, the community of iNatters grows along with the observation/species number. I'm planning on corresponding more with folks from around the world -- even with my repetitive message of "woah, cool observation" or "neat-o photo," I think these can be kinda encouraging and welcoming. They're genuine too -- there are soooo many cool observations being made daily here on iNat. And hey, it feels good to know that someone else is enjoying your photos/audio recordings/nature experiences. :)

So, that's my main goal for 2024 here on iNat -- connect more with other iNatters! :)

Posted on 03 January, 2024 02:34 by sambiology sambiology | 1 comment | Leave a comment

19 January, 2024

Observing plants without reproductive structures...

So, I'm changing. :)

Early on, I would get really bent out of shape when folks would observe a plant on iNaturalist and not include the reproductive structures (flowers/fruits/seeds). I remember doing a copy-paste message that I would put on observations of just the leaves or stems... "Wait until the flower/fruit!" It was probably pretty annoying...

When I worked in the herbarium (Botanical Research Institute of Texas), a plant specimen was only valid if it had those flowers/fruits... Without those, it could not be used in the herbarium as exchange. This was hammered into me big time, and I guess it carried over into my iNat observing and identifying.

Anyways, I'm changing! I no longer get upset if an observation doesn't include reproductive structures, and I too am going to be observing plants without reproductive structures. I'll try to do this infrequently -- I still think that reproductive structures are the best way to observe a plant and get the most accurate ID. But honestly, it may not be all that necessary. Especially with the phenology, it may even be just as valuable to document when a plant is not blooming/fruiting.

Plants are spectacular to observe with iNaturalist -- they stay put, and it's quite simple to get multiple photos of the different parts of the plants. With ALL plant observations, I get AT LEAST two photos. If it's one that I'm not too familiar with, I think getting even more photos of different parts of the plants.

As I visit Saudi Arabia in a month of so, I will likely be observing a lot of plants that lack reproductive structures -- I may not get back to Saudi... ever... but I still do want to try to find as many different organisms as I can. Hopefully some of the vegetative characteristics will be unique enough to narrow down an ID.

So, I'm loosening up a bit when it comes to plant observing -- and that's a good thing! :)

Posted on 19 January, 2024 19:28 by sambiology sambiology | 22 comments | Leave a comment

24 January, 2024

New to iNat? Here are some helpful guides!

Here's a great getting started page:

Here are some really nice and helpful videos:

Posted on 24 January, 2024 02:40 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

29 January, 2024

TPWD iNaturalist video -- lucky to be part of the community!

I'm sooooo dang lucky. Lucky in many ways -- lucky to be in relatively good health, lucky to live in an area where there's ample wildlife year around, and lucky to have a job that I love! I'm also super lucky that I'm allowed to utilize iNaturalist both personally and professionally.

Last year, I was part of a little iNaturalist video that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Show put together. Well, it's up on youtube now!

I hope the biggest takeaways from the video are not about me, but about the tool and the community here on iNaturalist. In the midst of a lot of bad news all over the place, this community is a good reminder of hope -- lots of folks engaging with nature around the world. And that's pretty dang cool. :)

Posted on 29 January, 2024 19:07 by sambiology sambiology | 23 comments | Leave a comment