Maine Master Naturalist Roger Rittmaster will hold a virtual workshop on the nature app, iNaturalist June 4.

Maine - Naturalist to discuss new social network for nature buffs

The Camden Public Library, in partnership with Coastal Mountains Land Trust, will present Maine Master Naturalist Roger Rittmaster Thursday, June 4, at 6 p.m. for a look at the nature app, iNaturalist. This online presentation will be conducted via the Zoom meeting platform. Email to request a link to participate.

iNaturalist, a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, is a program that uses artificial intelligence to identify a plant or animal in a photograph. Besides providing information about a species, the program allows amateur naturalists to contribute to biodiversity science. iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature. “When I checked today, over 37 million photographs from around the world had been submitted by over 127,000 individuals,” said Rittmaster.

“Once a photograph is submitted, other people, including experts, will often confirm the identification, which then becomes 'research grade,' ” said Rittmaster. iNaturalist also shares user findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use the data.

Rittmaster said, “There is also an ‘Explore’ function, which allows the user to create a search of photographs based on species, location, photographer, and a number of other criteria.”

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