Last year I started working with a local park, Carl Schurz Park, as their volunteer naturalist and their liaison with iNat (suggested by Daniel Atha of NYBG). CSP is a gorgeous park with interesting topography, a good number of dedicated volunteer gardeners, and a flourishing Conservancy. The gardeners mostly live right in the area (it’s a super-nice area), and most of them are older ladies like myself. They were willing in theory to engage with iNat, but didn’t really know how to. I set them up with a Biodiversity Project and a Place, and did my best to teach them how to make observations, which wasn’t easy, as a lot of them are not really very internet- and smart-phone- savvy.
I also did a bunch of short nature walks with them, within the park, on different topics. (In spring and fall the park already has bird-walks from Gabriel Willow, who is a super entertaining urban naturalist as well as a superb birder.)
The volunteer staff really had a blast on my walks, as most of them really only knew about the garden plants they work with in their part of the park (each one has their own flower bed/ plant area) and they really enjoyed hearing more about the complex web of nature.
I have recently been really getting into ID-ing plant diseases and plant pests, so I was also able to ID some of those for them while also reassuring them that the great majority of the plant pests and plant diseases that are present in CSP park are not really a threat, do not need much intervention, and will “even out” naturally as time passes.
The park uses no fertilizers, pesticides or weedkillers, and is home to a population of DeKay’s Brownsnakes, which is pretty impressive for a relatively small park in Manhattan!
I guess gardeners are a natural source of potential nature people, and older people in good shape tend to have more time than a lot of younger people.