Is there any public welfare award for outstanding iNat user?

I just want to know. And if there are, how can I apply for it?
Thank you.


Personal satisfaction.

If you’re one of the top observers or identifiers in your area you may get a shout-out at the end of the year when the iNat reviews by country are done.


hummmmm……I have gotten enough personal satisfaction on this.
You mean there aren’t any official certificate or award?
I can’t tell people one by one"Hey guys I just be the top identifier on iNat!" It looks silly and they don’t even know what is iNat and what does top identifier mean.


honestly, if you’re interested in getting professional recognition, start making friends. There’s a lot of people here in positions of influence and getting a glowing recommendation letter from a colleague/friend who already has their foot in the door would probably be helpful to you.

I have been getting a great deal of personal satisfaction, though. By far my favourite part of this community is the people. I’ve made a good number of friends and it’s an honour to call some of the people here colleagues in this effort. And yeah, I like chasing numbers, but I try not to do it for the numbers’ sake. Helping people is the more important thing, and contributing to science.

This platform runs on volunteers. Help as much as you find satisfying. We need lots of people from diverse backgrounds, with varied needs and goals.

There’s no formal rewards, and being on a leaderboard or getting mentioned in a blog post is, I’m sure, fun, but isn’t exactly accreditation of skill or merit. Not sure that sort of thing should be a part of iNat ever, as it would create/worsen elitism I think.


I hereby dub MANASSAS
the 2020 recipient of

The IJMTU Service Award
for Outstanding INat User
in gratitude for their service
to the public welfare, in 2020,
on INat and its forum

You’re set. Have a great day!


There is no “outstanding user” award, one shouldn’t need such a motivation to continue contributing to a community like this.

Being the top identifier isn’t something that needs attribution; if you think it does then you might need to do some thinking.

It’s not really a shoutout, just a mention on the year review page. Probably the best you’re gonna get.

If it’s that important to you, then you should feel excited to tell people that, and then go on to explain what it means. When I first became the number one identifier for Plushback Flies (Palpada), I sent an email to some friends bragging, and then I later realized how weird I sounded.

Congrats Manassas, you’ve successfully made other people happy.

I completely agree. Numbers are satisfying, but they don’t reflect your actual knowledge. You’ve volunteered your time on the website to help out, and if iNat is forced to provide “rewards,” then the idea of this community service has failed.

If such a thing was implemented, I do think, as @trh_blue said, it would make the winners(?) feel like they were better than others, even if subconciously.

There have been forum posts regarding discussion about whether or not the identification leaderboard is a good thing to have, and this just seems like a blown-up version of that.

If you feel like any part of my reply was ill-mannered, please let me know and I will edit it.


iNat kinda succeeds exactly because there ISN’T such a thing. We just do it because it’s worth doing, not for the recognition or reward.


Well, this nonetheless made me smile. Belated congrats! In some ways, there’s nothing sweeter than “I’m so proud I did a thing so obscure it would take me a bit of time to explain properly…”


Nope, and I, for one, am glad that’s the case.


I know, If I don’t love it and can’t get pleasure from it, I won’t spend time on it from the beginning, instead of keeping studying by myself and being one of the top identifier in Mantis and Katydid, and spending time sorting and identifying observation, and giving ID to some hard species that no one else can recognize except me, and making thorough revision in many entire countries.
But you know what, I am only an undergraduate student in Wuhan, China. School don’t care what you do in your amatur time unless you get award on it. Even volunteer work you need to get exact working hours to be certified. Many students get the qualification of Postgraduate exemption or scholarship by their various awards. Can you imagine losing in exemption then have to participate but still fail in the later entrance exam? And what about the observation? It has been the 5th year since I started exploring my area in Guangxi from the summer of 2017. Can you imagine missing your dream species again and again? I have been dreaming of finding various species of Mantis and Raspy Cricket(Gryllacrididae) in my area. What about the result? Untill recently I finally find the only one Shield mantis(Rhombodera). And Raspy Cricket? Not even one yet. I am eager to publish article and always hoping that I can have a new species publication of my own. Still not. Although on iNat I recognize many new species in South America or elsewhere but nothing more because I am not there. I can’t refer to other’s observation to find them because there isn’t any. I am even the only of the long-term observer in my area and provide 250 of 335 observations there. I feel terrible because everything I want isn’t guaranteed.
Helping is mutual. I can help everyone I see that is in need, but I can’t help myself. I give help and I want some feedback when I need help the most, is it difficult?


Thanks for all the IDs you’ve added to iNat, @Manassas. As others have stated, iNat doesn’t really give out rewards or certificates, the idea is that (hopefully) people derive personal satisfaction from helping others and sharing their knowledge.

It sounds like this philosophy might clash with some the norms and practices in the Chinese educational system, and that any work you’ve done on iNat, or any expertise you’ve demonstrated on iNat, won’t be recognized by your university and won’t allow you to further or improve your studies. Is that the case?


@Manassas one suggestion: your iNaturalist profile page shows the number of observations and identifications you have contributed, and how long you have been contributing. You could print this as a record of your work. Before printing, you could also edit your profile description to add more detail about yourself and your areas of expertise on iNaturalist, if that would help.

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Yes. And I ID so many interesting species that I like, but even not get any for five years.

In my opinion, the number is only a number, if not certified, it is not different between 15000 ID and 1500 ID.
For example, just like running, no matter how many practices you’ve done can’t compare to a medals.

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In the US they have the master naturalists or something like that, and here in NZ we have various programs offered through Department of Conservation that have been developed and carry credits in the NZ education system. My iNat activity counts for nothing here in NZ, so it is not just a Chinese educational system thing. It takes for someone or some organisation to formalise the connection between the activity/learning and the credits system employed within the country.

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Another example, I believe @jon_sullivan has built iNat participation into some of his papers at the university he teaches at (Lincoln?) and @murray_dawson has been involved with junior level schools and programmes that have involved iNaturalist use, and they both might comment regarding how the association between iNat activity and course credit might play out.

I would look around for local organisations that offer something similar, that might themselves look to including iNaturalist activity in their programmes. Museums and environmental agencies are possible starting points…


Thanks @kiwifergus. Yes, I use iNaturalist as the platform of choice for my students’ biodiversity observations in our assorted university courses. It’s better in a lot of ways that using private spreadsheets and submitted photos, as the students get to contribute real data to a public forum, get to interact with and learn from a wide diversity of experts (amateur and professional), and get familiar with the platform that I’d like them to reach for when they notice a unusual or new species in their area. It’s all good.

A degree of extra attention is needed as an admin of the class projects, to make sure that everyone is doing their assignments carefully. Every so often a student will try and game the system, e.g., by uploading a photo swiped from the internet. They’re usually pretty easy to spot, and the consequences for the student aren’t pretty, so things work out.

In general, though, I really like that the vast majority of iNat users are on the platform because they love it. It’s a great vibe and I expect makes for more trustworthy data.


sorry @jon_sullivan, OP was asking about recognition of iNat activity, maybe in the form of medals or certification, that then might credit towards study etc. I thought you might offer insight into how that might happen… particularly in relation to a framework such as we have here in NZ where a central organisation administers educational qualification etc…

to make it more specific to your case, how is the connection made between iNat activity and credit on your papers… is it that iNat is just a tool that is utilised to meet already existing credit criteria?

and to put it in a way that mirrors the OPs question: If I, as an adult student who has no university qualification currently, were to attend university (some degree that involved papers somehow relevant to iNatting), is there a way to factor in my nearly 6 years of passionate iNat activity, 42000+ IDs, and 10000+ observations? I know in a job situation, such real life experience definitely counts, and will even be considered in lieu of university qualification, but the OP is I think looking to convert iNat activity more directly to qualification or some other personal benefit.

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@Manassas - I thought @tiwane’s response was spot on. It sounds like your worry is that your activity on iNaturalist, which you enjoy, will have an opportunity cost in terms of your academic and career success. This has some parallels in the US with competition to get into colleges – it’s a bit more open-ended here, but there’s a lot of worry that if you spend too much time on any one thing, without huge success, you’ll hurt your chances of getting in to the most selective schools.

It also got me thinking about the deeper questions of why certifications matter. It’s partly validation of the work by an independent party, and it’s partly indicative that the work is useful or somehow matters to other people. Some of this might be solved by framing / context on your part. For example, instead of counting IDs, why not count the number of people you’ve helped confirm their ID, the number of “research grade” observations you’ve contributed to, or maybe even the number of papers for which you’ve been able to help gather data? Unfortunately, a lot of environmental values are seen as being abstract / aesthetic / non-commercializable. One way of responding to this might be to see that the INat data in your area is getting used for research, conservation, or business. If you were to organize even a small project or club around your local observations, connecting the data you collect with interested parties, it could help communicate your passion and the relevance of your hobby. You have to be careful here: a ‘vanity’ project, mostly designed to fuel your personal ambition, isn’t so helpful. Be a project that’s genuinely constructive for the community is one of the best and most noble ways of showing your dedication and skill.


Yes, I have recorded several locations and individuals of an undescribe freshwater crab in my area. Althought I am not the first one to indicate it is a new species, But I think I am the one who see them the most frequently.