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Join the Seattle Parks iNaturalist Project and share your observations

by Todd Burley

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is seeking to expand our awareness of what species live in our parks, and you can be part of the effort! SPR has set up a “project” in iNaturalist called Seattle Parks, and you can join this project to log in your observations of the plants, animals, and fungi you find in parks and natural areas throughout Seattle.

In the spring, SPR joined the Woodland Park and Point Defiance zoos to spread the word about the City Nature Challenge, a similar community science effort to understand what species live in our area. Thousands of observations from the public have added to our awareness of our city’s biodiversity, which we hope will continue into the future so we can assess trends over time.

You can join this community science effort any time of the year! Start by creating an iNaturalist account. Then search and join the ”Seattle Parks” project. Take your phone out to your local park, snap a picture 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’ve seen, or you can identify the species yourself. Through this collaborative endeavor, we not only collect what many people are able to see, but observations can be verified by others, adding to their scientific value.

So grab your phone, head to your local park, and snap some pictures of what you see! Or better yet, organize a BioBlitz with your friends, community group, or neighbors for intensive observation over a couple days. Whether casual or organized, all observations add to our local biodiversity knowledge.