Join the Seattle Parks iNaturalist Project and share your sightings
by Todd Burley
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) seeks to expand our knowledge of the species that live in our parks, and you can be part of the effort! SPR has set up a “project” in iNaturalist called Seattle Parksand you can join this project to record your observations of the plants, animals, and fungi you find in Seattle’s parks and natural areas.
In the spring, SPR joined with Woodland Park and Point Defiance zoos to raise awareness of the City Nature Challenge, a similar community science effort to understand what species live in our area. Thousands of public sightings have added to our awareness of our city’s biodiversity, which we hope will continue into the future so that we can assess trends over time.
You can join this community science effort any time of the year! Start by creating a iNaturalist account. Then find and join the “Seattle Parksproject. Take your phone to your local park, snap a photo of a plant, animal, or other life, and log your observations via iNaturalist. That’s it!
Volunteer experts can validate your contributions if you don’t know what you saw, or you can identify the species yourself. Through this collaborative effort, we not only collect what many people are able to see, but the observations can be verified by others, adding to their scientific value.
So grab your phone, head to your local park, and take pictures of what you see! Or better yet, organize a BioBlitz with your friends, community group or neighbors for intensive observation for a few days. Whether informal or organized, all sightings add to our knowledge of local biodiversity.