An App for Naturalists Offers a Shared Sense of Reality

Better smartphone cameras helped, as did inexpensive macro lens attachments and the ubiquity of wireless internet access.

Birders have mastered some worlds almost 11,000 bird species was intrigued by the all-inclusive nature of iNaturalist, where they were also able to tackle about 900,000 species of insects are named, sayor 377,990 species of plants. Many users also joined during the early part of the pandemic, when a virus likely jumped from bats to other wildlife to humans may have fostered association between species, and anyway, there was little to do but go out.

But Other phone appsincludes Merlin for birds, PictureThis for plants, and Seek, a fork of iNaturalist, which defines some subset of two million officially recognized species on the planet without human communion.

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 joined in the rural Michigan town where he grew up.

An SAT tutor has make it its duty to correct the misidentification of oak honey bee on iNaturalist, Mr. Kranz also worries about his own tendency to refer to people with whom he disagrees politically as “you know, morally bankrupt enemies.” But iNaturalist “is a place where I feel I interact with strangers and work towards the common good.”

Perhaps like most iNaturalist users – to judge by clues in profiles and discussion forums – Mr. Kranz is a political libertarian. But in interviews, some of the site’s most famous figures describe themselves as politically conservative. And the team projects on the site – “Florida’s Pollinators“”Oklahoma’s salt potion“”New York Slime Mold” — tends to transcend the usual divisions of the nation.

Thomas Everest, 22 years old, a registered Republican appreciated on the site as an identifier of California molluscs, said he appreciates the humility of iNaturalist users — even the more liberal ones — that stem from acknowledging ignorance in front of people you don’t know. or necessarily believe.


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