October 30, 2016

Crazy Year, Big Changes

This summer my family and I took an epic road trip through 18 states! We left Austin, TX and zig-zagged our way to the Maine coast and back. It was three weeks of exploring, hiking and visiting friends/family we never get to see. That was several months ago, and I'm finally getting around to looking at the SD cards to upload the observations we made!

It's been an intense year for us, both good and bad. Without warning, my dad passed away in February, then we were dealing with illnesses and surgery, finishing my Masters program, and everything else that comes with raising kids, commuting, etc. Our high hopes for 2016 were crushed so early in the year that our heads are still spinning. We've done a lot of thinking and decided to quit our jobs, sell the house, and move to New Hampshire. There are so many reasons to go, but a bonus is getting to explore all new terrain. I don't know the names of the trees, birds, plants, etc. We have so much to learn! I can't wait to get back to using iNat all the time again, as we learn more about our new home. <3

If anyone has any favorite New England spots to share... please do! As Texans, we have no problem driving 5 hours to see something. lol. I still can't get over how close everything is up there!

Posted on October 30, 2016 20:31 by rebecca_nh rebecca_nh | 7 comments | Leave a comment

January 04, 2016

2015

While attending the Children & Nature Network conference in Bastrop last April I heard about this crazy website that lets you upload your nature photos and ID them. Not only that, but OTHER people can leave comments too! AND your information can be collected to help support research or wildlife management! I made an account as soon as possible. Not really understanding how I could contribute when I know so little, but just curious regardless. I've learned so much these last 8 months or so. I ended 2015 with 660 observations of 463 named species. (Can't wait to see how much more I'll have this year!)

It also gives me the sense that there is a whole community out there wanting to promote citizen science & biodiversity, and all the awareness that comes with those. The idea that anyone can access this treasure trove of information and community brings me joy. I try to add a few observations from every where I go to learn more about the world we live in. I feel like I'm always talking about it, or sneaking away from homework to go outside and find something to "collect." I even keep begging my husband to hold off mowing the backyard because so many plants keep popping up! I want to figure out what they are. What eats them? Are they native? Are they edible?... :) Can someone become addicted to iNat? Do I need help?

It's more than just learning names of various organisms, but recognizing that learning never ends. Before iNaturalist I would photograph wildlife, then dig around field guides and websites to find a name. (and forget the details) I still do that, but now I actually have a place to store the data. I can look at all of my observations and save links in the description for future reference. I can chose to follow observations of others that I am 100% clueless on just to read what others are saying or identifying. I am so grateful for every one I've contacted these last few months with wildlife questions or permission to paint their observations I've fallen in love with. Every one has been so kind with their knowledge and patient with my lack there of. I have no formal academic science training, and worried that would be a barrier. It hasn't seemed to be. And this curious girl is doing her best to catch up one day. ;)

I'm excited for 2016 and all the new experiences to come. I have a couple of iNat projects and a major road trip in the works. While planning and budgeting ahead for our trip, the topic of souvenirs came up. In all seriousness, I won't be buying any. I'll be out on the trails somewhere, collecting only photos and leaving only footprints.
(....and making A LOT of art.)
:) :)

2016 is going to be a great year!!

-Rebecca

Posted on January 04, 2016 06:18 by rebecca_nh rebecca_nh | 1 comment | Leave a comment

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