This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed making observations and participating in citizen scientist projects. Check out our first phenology post! And if you know a little bug lover, then this post is for you. And definitely this one.
Are you using iNaturalist yet? We’ve mentioned the app a few times in other posts, but thought that a formal introduction was in order.
iNaturalist provides both app and website forums for sharing your wildlife observations. These observations can be seen by other wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists, and scientists. Basically, it’s creating an amazing forum for collecting data about wildlife across the world, and the best part is that you don’t have to be an expert to contribute data. This is citizen science at its finest!
Having many observations across a wide geographic area and over a number of years help scientists track data about the location, movement, and timing of biological activity. For example: is the range of a species changing? are they migrating earlier or later in the season? is the timing of plant budding out/flowering/fruiting changing? Simple observations across a large group of people help to collect the data that will answer these questions.
Even though our days are packed, one of the things that we always make time for is keeping up with the news. We think it’s important to be well informed citizens, so we read everything, but by far our favorite articles are those covering science, environmental, travel, and adventure topics. Today we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite sources of science and travel news, and we would love to hear yours!
- Science Daily – I think this is one of the most comprehensive sources of science news on the web. It covers every topic from environment (our favorite) to health and physics to technology, making their subject lists extensive and easy to browse for the precise topic you are interested in. I also love that they start each article with a brief summary of key points. I dare you to go to their site and not waste a few hours skimming articles.
- NY Times – who doesn’t love the NY Times Science section? I particularly love their videos, illustrations, and interactive features (like this one explaining the higher number of earthquakes associated with drilling for geothermal energy in California). If you’re a teacher, those short videos can be such a great supplement to lessons; I would use them all the time at the college level, but since they are writing for the layperson, I think the material works at the high school level too.
Beyond the sites listed above, we like to follow a number of organizations doing good work. These entities all have their own websites, which is what I’m sharing below, but realizing that I don’t have time to visit their sites regularly, I’ve found that it’s much easier to keep up with their work by following them on Facebook (i.e. liking their page). This makes my Facebook feed so much more interesting and educational, and you’ll often find us sharing stories from these sites on our Live Seasoned Facebook feed. In fact, I find myself opening it with the intention of “reading the news”; crazy, huh?! Anyway, here are a few of our favorites:
- National Park Service – Being lovers of national parks, it’s a no-brainer to follow this feed. They share bits of history as well as current events happening in the parks across the country. For example, the photo above was posted last week and introduced us to the Yukon Quest!
- Specific National Parks – similarly, we follow some of our favorite national parks, like Canyonlands so that we get all updates (from road closures to animal sitings) from our favorite parks.
- IFL Science – and finally, one of our favorite Facebook pages, with the best name is I F*cking Love Science. They often share some of the more bizarre science news as well as hot topics.
So that’s where we get a lot of our science news. Hopefully we’ve introduced you to something new and exciting. And we would love to hear from you! If you’ve discovered something that we haven’t mentioned, please tell us about it in the comments.