Creating an account
First, you’ll need to create an iNaturalist account. This can be done on the mobile app or on the website (https://www.inaturalist.org)
Creating a project
To create a project, you’ll need to login via the website. Follow this link (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/new) and click “Get Started” under Collection Project (not umbrella project!).
Name your project. It can be something like “Kansas Science Fest Manhattan High School 2022”
You can choose a project icon and banner photo if you’d like! You can also choose your school’s main color, too (click on the green to change it).
The only thing you’ll need to add here are your students accounts under “Include users”. To do this, you’ll need to add the usernames of each student in your class participating. This can be edited anytime to add or remove students.
Scroll down until you see “Data quality” and check the box that says “Casual” (all 3 boxes here should be checked). Media Type and Establishment Means should be left as “Any”.
Select “Range” and enter 2022-04-20 as the start date and 2022-04-30 as the end date.
Final step! Add user “rynaturalist” (that’s me!) as a project admin. This way, if you need help editing the project or making sure things are right I can help you out more easily.
That’s it! Hit ‘Done’ when you’re finished (you can always go back later and make changes as needed).
If you did everything correctly, any observation your students make during the competition will be automatically added to the project with no further effort needed on your part! Sit back and watch what your students find!
Once your project is created and I am added as an admin, I will know which is your project to add to the official competition project. This allows you to compare your school to other schools competeting as well as see what organisms other students are finding.
Video tutorial on how to make an observation (this could be helpful to play in class for students). I strongly recommend playing around with the app a few times and submitting a couple observations before having your students use it!
- The “Geoprivacy” feature allows you to obscure an observation if you don’t want the exact location of the organism to be revealed (ie. if it is at your house). Selecting “Obscured” or “Private” will hide the location.
- The AI that iNaturalist uses does not always work well on every picture it sees. When students click “What did you see” and do not get any reasonable species suggestions, let them know that they can manually type in the taxnomic name of the group they are sure the organism belongs to. A lot of the time, students will just leave the observation blank. This makes it hard for experts to find and identify the observation, since identifiers often sort by Order or Family and will not see the observation unless something is typed in. For instance, if a student finds an insect they believe to be a beetle, and do not get good AI sugggestions, they can manually type in “Beetle” or even “Insect” which is much, much better than leaving it blank.
Additional tutorial videos on different features of iNaturalist are available here.