How can African Museums make effective use of iNaturalist ? Ideas please!

How can African museums make better use of iNaturalist ?

Dear fellow iNaturalists, this is a request for suggestions and advice from a museum in the heart of Botswana.

Khama III Memorial Museum in Serowe is a small, community, ethnographic museum which lacks the space, resources and staff to have a Natural History section. We are fully committed to making full use of the iNaturalist website to develop our online, interactive display of the fauna and flora of the Central District in Botswana. We have compiled a list of iNaturalist projects that we hope shall inspire members of our community to take a much greater interest in our local Biodiversity and join in the fun of being Citizen Scientists. Here are some example of our very local projects.

As a museum we are enthused to promote the City Nature Challenge and Great Southern Bioblitz, not only in our corner of Botswana but throughout Africa. We hope that more museums shall see themselves as center’s which encourage people to get involved in these amazing competitions.

Our staff are Cultural Historians who are very excited to use iNaturalist as a tool to collect names of animals and plants in the many languages and dialects of Botswana and ensure that the local names are carefully matched with the scientific, Latin names. As a long term goal, we would like to promote the translation of the iNaturalist website and app into Setswana , Kalanga and the other Botswana languages, not only to make iNaturalist more accessible to more people but also to promote our languages.

We request that other museums in Africa and beyond, link with us and join us in exploring how we can best make use of iNaturalist to increase our reach into our local community and further afield.

Museums, please add your museum garden projects to this global umbrella.

Please give us more ideas how small, underfunded community museums throughout Africa which run on shoestring budgets can get all the benefits of using iNat to spread our tentacles, further.

Perhaps there is a need for a special Museums Forum on iNaturalist to bring museum managers, staff, visitors and friends together and share ideas how iNaturalist can be better utilized in the museum world.

We would love you to visit Botswana, Serowe and our small museum after Covid has run away.

Any ideas ?

Gase Kediseng (Associate Curator, Khama III Memorial Museum in Serowe Botswana)


It might be nice to have a virtual spatial representation of your Natural History section. For example, something like here: or here only that instead of panorama photos from a real place, you could have a virtual place where “photos” of local iNaturalist observations are hanging on the wall.


Adding common names and translations as you proposed sounds like a great place to start in terms of making iNaturalist more accessible to your local users.

iNat’s translations are done via CrowdIn which anyone can contribute to (see here:

Adding common names in local languages is also pretty straightforward and info is here:


These two threads are also relevant here
Definitely want people to be able search on iNat for the names they know, in their own language (and spelt and written correctly)


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