Issues with conducting Projects

I’m not sure if this was already answered, but I am a new teacher and I want to create a Project so that my students can join and add their observations. Yet, when I create it they cannot add any of their observations too it, and I can’t either. I tried creating the project as both a collection project and even an umbrella project. Yet, nothing works. Hopefully someone can help me create a project for my students. Thank you

D. DeBons

One doesn’t add observations to collection (or umbrella) projects. Those projects are essentially only search shortcuts - so you have to formulate inclusion criteria the way it suits you, and then all observations that meet these criteria will automatically be included in the project. No manual adding needed.

The manual adding was needed for traditional projects. You can still make them, but they are a bit hidden, and you should think about whether you really want to make a traditional project.

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This is where you decide which types of observations to include in your collection project:

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@debons23, I see you have recently joined iNaturalist and haven’t made any observations yourself yet. In order to create a Project, you’ll need to make 50 observations yourself, to get familiar with the system. That isn’t as hard as it sounds! Please read the guidelines for teachers at’s+guide, and the guidelines for projects at Come back with more questions if you need to. If you give the name of your project, we can look at it and make suggestions, too.


While that’s true for traditional projects, you can make collection-style projects without any restrictions, e.g.:

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Over the past year, I have been talking with my daughter, a junior high teacher, about how iNaturalist might be useful in the classroom.

One of the things that we kept coming back to was how rich the iNaturalist website is as a classroom resource. Especially as it continues to grow in numbers of species included and places with observations.

Planning some classroom activity using the web site explore and search features might be a useful way to begin. Less stressful than jumping in at the deep end of running a full fledged project and just as exciting for your students.

For example, before an outdoor outing, search the website for observations at the location, at the same time of year so that students can become familiar with what they might see. Involve students in the creation of checklists to use on the outing using the species view of the explore page.

Compiling the checklist is an opportunity to visit the concepts of identifying to the higher taxon groups. Depending on the age and the skills of your classroom, you might be talking about things like how can you tell a plant from an animal; a reptile from an amphibian; or how to separate the various tribes of flies.

Then during your outing have them observe - using whatever methods to record their observations as seems appropriate to your students situation.

On return to the classroom, the class can work to identify to the best of their ability their observations, using other observations on the website to verify their decisions as well as enlarge their knowledge of the organisms.

Working in this way, both you and your students gain practice in observing and exposure to the challenge of documenting your observations in such a way that other people can identify the organisms at second hand.

As a teacher, this kind of activity will put you in a stronger position to define an iNaturalist project that will work for you over time. :)


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