Journal archives for July 2021

July 29, 2021

Positive Feedback Loop of Identifications -- it's a big deal!

Encouraging others, through words or actions helps to inspire and encourage you in return. You are helping others exactly the same time you are helping yourself. ~Nasreen Variyawa

I'm in a really lucky position to interact with lots of naturalists and nature enthusiasts. When we talk about iNaturalist, we talk a lot about the community. We speak of the great observations from around the world, some of the magnificent observations (which, the observation of the day and observation of the week highlight as well ), and the folks that make these observations. Most of all, we talk about the identifiers and experts that dedicate so much time and energy to welcoming us all to the community.

This process of adding identifications is a positive feedback loop. When we add on an ID to an observation, we welcome that observer to the community. Yes, we make the entire database better, we train the AI to give better suggestions, and we learn a lot when we ID. But, I think that the welcoming part is the most relevant and meaningful.

In my very biased opinion, this is the real power of this tool -- iNaturalist is all about engagement for me. We engage with nature, and we engage with the community of naturalists. Those are really meaningful experiences! When I'm outside, I feel like I'm traveling around with others -- other naturalists and other species! It's always fun to find a 'new' species for me, and I have some fun researching to try to figure out the name of my 'natural neighbors.'

I am in awe of the taxon experts that give the tremendous gift of their time and energy to adding in ID's. It's freaking amazing how talented these folks are -- and how generous they are with their knowledge. Some day, I hope that I can get to that level of experience with a particular group of organisms. In the meantime, I'm simply in awe of these amazing people.

I tend to be a 'regional ID'er' -- the vast majority of my time ID'ing is focused on north central TX... I'm far from an expert, but I've learned so much from helping folks learn the names of species. And yes, I've made thousands and thousands of mistakes on ID's -- it's ok. How do I know they were mistakes? Well, they were corrected by someone else! This is all part of the process -- I've learned a lot from these mistakes too. I still make them sometimes, but I'm still learning as well. :)

So, ID'ing is such a valuable part of this process of welcoming a naturalist to the community -- it inspires them to go out and make more observations, learn a little more, and engage again with nature. I love it -- it makes me so happy. :)

Inspiration is given to inspire. We give what we receive. ~David O. Mears

Posted on July 29, 2021 15:53 by sambiology sambiology | 13 comments | Leave a comment