A sign that will promote visitors to use INaturalist

Hi there!
I am a manager in a conservation facility called Osoyoos Desert Centre. We are a semi arid shrub step site in BC Canada, with a 1.5 km boardwalk that takes you through the antelope brush ecosystem.

I have recently a project for the centre, and now I would like to get the ~10,000 yearly visitors to contribute to the project.
I am looking to create a sign that the visitors will see on their way in, and either remember to use IN
aturalist, or download the app and become first time users.
Has anyone seen/know of similar signs that have been created?
Or a good way to make people downland and Start using the app?

Attached are my initial thoughts of how the sign would look like



I printed some, but can’t find the page right now, but found this:

used verison of https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-to-use-inaturalist-postcards/4911
For yours, you need to do something with that black font over flowers, it’s very hard to read.


White boarder around the letters will help


I think the sign would be great but I agree that text is impossible to read. If you need help I do graphic design, but I like the general thought! I think I’d keep the first scentence, but make the second “Scan this QR code with your smartphone to learn more” because…

One of the biggest ‘problems’ is new users not knowing how iNat works. If you could have a QR code on the sign that links to your park website landing page that describes the basics of iNat in a few simple sentences so like…on the website itself it would say something like:

"Become a citizen scientist and help us identify the species that live in the Osoyoos Desert Centre using iNaturalist! Share your photos of wild flora & fauna and learn about the wildlife around us.

Tips for using iNaturalist:

  1. Please only make Observations of wild organisms in the park (pets are cute, but not wild!)
  2. Put an Identification with the Observation, even if all you know is “Planta” (Plants!)
  3. Try using the Computer Vision (“CV”) to learn about new types of species and learn about taxonomy! When in doubt, click on the “taxonomy” tab and see if the suggestions all share an Order or a Family, and identify your Observation as such. This will help specialists identify your Observations.

{link} Ready to start? Make an iNaturalist account here and join the fun! (/link)

Once you have an account, (link) Join our park’s Project! (/link) to be a part of the local community of naturalists that can help answer your questions and aid in your identifications."

I think that will help give users a bit of on-boarding, and also encourage them to join a project which you/your folk help sort through so you can spot new users and help them along :)


I agree that a QR code will be the way to go. You can then make your sign simple and focused on getting visitors interested in using iNat and what it is for. You can keep the details on a website for them to access. This is also useful as it is easy to update a website with new specific info if iNat changes their layout, app, etc. If you make the sign too specific, it may become obsolete quicker than you’d like.


Not for me - but definitely - QR code is the way to go.
Then you have already caught them on their cellphone Tick
And they are busy taking photos tick

Perhaps if you have a Friends of … you could organise small groups for a practical demonstration. And that will ripple out.


I think I like the idea of having. guided tour, someone who can show people how to use iNaturalist as they move through the area. How about hosting a bioblitz?


First, as a fellow British Columbian, it is awesome to hear that you’re doing this!


  1. I would include a panel explaining how the conservation facility and everyone benefits from the data.
  2. It is worth mentioning to people that they can, as an alternative, take photos with their smartphone (or camera) with geolocation turned on and upload those photos to the iNaturalist.ca website.
  3. It can help to mention that iNaturalist.ca is sponsored by some big-name Canadian institutions; this helps give it some bonus credibility:

iNaturalist Canada is led by the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) along with Parks Canada, NatureServe Canada and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), which collectively make up the iNaturalist Canada Steering Committee. The platform is managed by the steering committee in collaboration with iNaturalist.org which is a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.
Source: https://inaturalist.ca/pages/about-inaturalist-canada-en

  1. Include a map of the park and boardwalk. Maybe tag some observations that people have already made (e.g. johndreynolds saw a Wavyleaf Thistle here!)
  2. A reminder to stay on the boardwalk.

Is this sign one you’re planning to design yourself or are you planning to hire a professional designer to make it?

I’ve seen some projects related to tracking of landscape regrowth following a forest fire. It predated iNaturalist, but it was a way to encourage trail users to participate in a crowdsourced science effort. Their sign was relatively simple:


I don’t think I’ve seen an actual sign like that, but a preserve I went to had an inaturalist link on the website right above their hiking map which I found clever: https://www.athensconservancy.org/baker-preserve/


Here’s an example of related signage from one of our local parks for the EcoExplore project on iNaturalist. It’s a little different because it is targeting children so there is a layer of adult curation of their submissions before they are uploaded on iNaturalist. The QR code goes to a list of observations on iNat for the location.


The general rule in interpretative signage is 3-30-3 for text.

The header should encapsulate the message in 3 seconds. Be a naturalist! or Contribute to our science! or Help our conservation research!

The 30 is a 30 second read of the message. As others stated above, I would give a one - two sentence explanation ending in a QR code. The three step graphics are appropriate here too.

The final section of text (and you may opt not to include it) is a 3 minute description. If you decided to use it I would add the QR code or an easy to remember link. Perhaps encourage folks to take a picture of the sign for future reference so they can upload later any pictures they take now. Depending on why they are there and who they are with, they might not have the literal or emotional bandwidth to download iNat and fiddle with it.


I think that’s a great idea. Across the multiple generations that are accommodated in a nature park, this is the most surefire way to retain that contact info for most visitors. The number of people who know how to snap a pic outnumber the ones who know how to snap and use a QR code.

Depending on the space and resources available, another way too encourage this method is to create/install an accompanying plywood photo cut-out with maybe a whimsical feel. Then, in a strategic location (close to the face cutouts), add the contact url. Interactive and informative and more likely to be shared.

Absolutely agree. Many people have made their way out there to get away from tech fiddling, rather than deal with more.

Are you a designer by any chance? You seem to be thinking like one!


Are you a designer by any chance? You seem to be thinking like one!

Hello @broacher, I work in a small science center. Even though my background is not exhibit development, our staff is small so we all have a smattering of expertise across disciplines. Jack of all trades, master of none, know just enough to get stuff done, if you will.


Have this photo of a BC Parks sign in place on a kiosk in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park near Vernon.


I like the “How Can you help?” type of phrasing to draw people in

But I think it’s a lot of text top left, which is read first when reading in English, first paragraph doesn’t say anything about what they want you to do just about what they do: people don’t read the basic sign to leash their dogs, much less a sign with a bunch of text that doesn’t get to the point. “Become a citizen scientist” is great phrase, but really blends and I actually saw that text last.

I think less is more for a sign - now a handout pamphlet even just a single sheet 1/3 size (so not trifold, but that size) that can have more text. My first impression is the photos, which look like this sign would be about what type of things you can see in the park which is related but not really teh point.

1 Like

This one is nice

This is a really good idea. I always go with a QR code, it’s the fastest and smartphones nowadays can read them straight from the camera app. Also, I second what others have said, you should include a link to some simple guidelines for using the app.

I see lots of mentions of a QR code, where would that be found? I’m working on a similar flyer for a bioblitz in April and would like to put a QR code to download inaturalist since many of the park visitors are probably not already users.

I don’t think there’s an official QR code provided by iNat. There are plenty of services/websites online that will make a QR code from a weblink, so you can just make your own that way and use however you want.


There’s a blog widget on the main page - which I doubt many people use - I have a blog and prefer to link to text where relevant.

iNat could easily offer a QR code instead. It is in the interests of all of us to make iNat more freely available to new people.