Monday, 3 May 2021

Discovering iNaturalist

I recently learned about a City Nature Challenge from a poster stuck up on a window at my local shops. 

The challenge involves photographing any plants, insects, animals, reptiles, fish, fungi over a four or five+day period. You then upload your photo and observations (what, where etc) to Nat Geo's iNaturalist website ( 

This platform exists all the time, not just these few days, and it is global. 

Time-limited challenges are created to get people out to take photos and record observations. For this local, time-limited challenge, observations can be tagged to this specific Garden Route project.

I had not looked at the site until last night. There I discovered an incredible world. I've been looking for interesting things instead of everything-things and on this site everything counts.

I did submit two observations last night - a beautiful mountain tortoise that I saw yesterday afternoon and also a striking pocket of furry, orange Common Lionspaw (Leonotis leonurus) flowers in an area with more black wattle and bracken than anything else.

I had planned to put in some time on the trails this afternoon, now that I understand better how this all works, but ended up leaving for Swellendam for an early morning meeting. While I will miss out on contributing more sightings and identifications to this specific challenge, I can add my contributions throughout the year.

This platform is a phenomenal database for studying distribution, variations, numbers and diversity - all made possible by citizen scientist contributions. 


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