A naturalist’s app provides a shared sense of reality

Better smartphone cameras have helped, as has inexpensive macro lenses and the ubiquity of wireless internet access.

Bird watchers who have almost mastered some of the world 11,000 bird species have been drawn to iNaturalist’s all-encompassing nature, where they can also get hands-on about 900,000 named species of insects, sayor the 377,990 plant species. Many users also joined during the early pandemic, when a virus that likely jumped from a bat to humans via other wildlife might have driven species connectivity home, and there was little to do but get outside anyway to go.

But other phone applications, including Merlin for birds, PictureThis for plants, and Seek, an iNaturalist fork, identify some subsets of the two million officially recognized species on the planet with no need for human community.

Adam Kranz, 32, says people continue to use iNaturalist because of a shared sense of purpose that reminds him of the Rotary Club his parents belonged to in the rural Michigan town where he grew up.

A SAT tutor who has has made it his mission to correct misidentifications Oak gall wasps On iNaturalist, Mr. Kranz also worries about his own tendency to view those with whom he disagrees politically as “you know, morally bankrupt enemies.” But iNaturalist “is where I feel like I’m interacting with strangers and working for the common good.”

Like most iNaturalist users, judging by hints on profiles and discussion forums, Mr. Kranz is a political liberal. But in interviews, several of the site’s most prolific connoisseurs described themselves as politically conservative. And group projects on the site – “Pollinators of Florida“, “Hydrochloric Acid of Oklahoma“, “Slime Molds of New York’ – tend to transcend the nation’s usual divisions.

Thomas Everest, 22, a registered Republican who is is highly regarded as a distinguishing feature on the website of California molluscs, said he appreciated a humility among iNaturalist users – even the more liberal ones – that comes from admitting ignorance to people you don’t know or necessarily trust.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/09/us/inaturalist-nature-app.html A naturalist’s app provides a shared sense of reality


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