This coming Friday typically marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season here in the U.S. While many retailers open early and offer discounted items, my favorite retailer REI is staying closed and encouraging people to go outside and play. And I’m going to do just that. If you’re looking for a way to conduct an educational activity outdoors this weekend or in the future, take a look at the following two apps.
iNaturalist is a community website for sharing pictures and observations of plants and animals. To enable easy sharing of observations, iNaturalist offers a free Android app and a free iOS app. Using the apps you can take a picture, geo-locate it, write your observations, and upload to the iNaturalist community. If your observation is incomplete, for example if you’re not sure of a scientific name, you can ask the community to add comments to improve the recording of your observation. If you don’t want to join the iNaturalist community, you can simply explore members’ observations through the iNaturalist Google Map.
Project Noah is designed to get your students outside and recording observations of nature. Project Noah is a globally collaborative project to which anyone can contribute. On Project Noah you can share pictures and stories of the plants and the animals that you observe in your neighborhood. Project Noah has a section titled Missions in which you can find projects that you can contribute to. The Missions ask people to make contributions of images and observations about a specific animal, plant, or region. Check out the squirrel mission to get started.