Give observations a home. Adopt a project near you. Mushrooms, native plants, etc

In the autumn my thoughts turn to mushrooms. I’ve really been enjoying adding observations to https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/mushrooms-of-south-carolina. It is a traditional project so you must add observations manually. After adding my own observations, I’ve added other mushrooms from the iNat forest of local observations. The more species in the gallery, the more useful the project becomes. Too many mushrooms are foundlings–no home–no project to live in where they have a chance of getting IDed.
A while ago, I also joined https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/south-carolina-native-plants, but then I discovered that since I didn’t know what plants were native to SC I was stuck with what already was in the project. So I decided to start with a native plant list I could trust http://www.scwf.org/native-plant-list and I looked for observations in SC for each plant listed–only a sampling of the diversity available. Along the way I ran into observations from super identifiers like a shepherd, a botanist, naturalists, and park rangers whose observations I could rely on to be mostly wild so I added flowering and fruiting instances from them for the gallery. I also ran into some class projects from Clemson and add a few good examples from students. Homework should matter!
Besides learning which of my own plant observations are actually natives I have learned about numerous completely unfamiliar natives. Also I discovered a nearby heritage preserve I had never heard of before.
What rewarding experiences have you had with adopting nearby projects?

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I had never been to Governors Island (in New York County) until this August 17th, which was my very first visit.

Then I went again on September 6th, and September 12th, and once again on September 19th.

Of course I did a lot of iNatting on all of those visits. I plan to go again, probably tomorrow, because each time I visit, I find new lifers, which is so much fun for me, and so educational

I found the Governors Island Wildlife project after my second visit.

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/governors-island-wildlife

Up until today I have made 394 observations of 171 species. I am currently #1 on the observations leaderboard of that project, and #2 on the species leaderboard project.

I have already learned a lot about who saw what when on the island, although goodness knows there is a huge amount of data there.

I hope to keep adding to the project until the ferry stops running at the end of October.

I also discovered this other Governors Island project, a bioblitz, which I joined, even though I may not be supposed to join it, as I am not really an eligible NYU student:

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/gov-island-fall-2021-nyu-bioblitz

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An island is a small world to explore. By taking a ferry the observations can begin before you even touch land. It’s even better than Gilligan’s island because it is your island—you’ve spent so much time meeting all the inhabitants. So many lifers. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I created this Google sheet to help me figure out new places to go iNatting near me:

By putting projects in the Notes column, it became a quick reference for me to see which local sites have projects, and which don’t.

In the course of putting the document together, I found a project that a local Audubon Society location is using for a 50th anniversary biodiversity inventory (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/honey-hollow-watershed-natural-resource-inventory) which led to me creating another Google sheet to capture and update the original inventory data, as well as record new species that have been observed at the site this year. It’s been fun to use the original list as a scavenger hunt of sorts, and wow did it show me how much the taxonomy of almost everything has changed in the last 50 years!

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Neat! You’ve discovered a time travel portal.

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OK, can someone remind me how to search for projects near where I live? I know I’ve done it before, but I just can’t figure it out.

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You are right on all counts!

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It depends on whether you use iNat on the phone app or on the computer. On the phone app once you have it up go under More, then under Project, and choose the Nearby option. On the computer once you are in Project do a keyword search based on your town or province.

Various thoughts on the issues raised:

Finding projects. Sometimes local projects also become apparent on their own by IDing, commenting, or adding your obs. first.

Value of projects. Projects can be worthwhile and interesting, although I don’t join a large number at once. I also think of the whole platform as one large project. Some projects (including ones which will be made in the future) can automatically add obs. from everyone. So, all obs. essentially can help projects. In turn, a project using your obs. can result in your obs. getting more IDs faster.

Local observations. Users often observe wildlife near them, so often locally. In some ways every location is worthwhile and interesting. Even if the location isn’t well-known, that can conversely mean it’s in greater need of sampling. Or if it’s remote it could mean there’s more natural wildlife/habitats vs. in big cities. Popular, highly sampled locations like big cities are also interesting because ID refinements/confirmation, species diversity, abundance estimates, and CV accuracy can increase a lot.

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Yes, I add others observations to projects I’ve joined to help them find the project.
Sometimes I join a project add all my relevant observations and then if it is seasonal I leave the project only to join it again next year when the bugs or whatever it happens to be comes back. Right now I’m seeing ambush bugs so I’ve joined again. https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/uncovering-the-ambush-bugs. Of course it helps that it is a worldwide project so when my local bug season is over I plan on adding what observations I can from other regions.

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Sounds good. Although leaving and re-joining projects probably only works best for some users, other users might find it easier to remember projects by remaining in them.

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