Student accounts

How can I create anonymous accounts for my students?

What do you mean by anonymous? You can assign them generic usernames like “schoolnameAB” or the like.
Also, are they at least 13?


Those that are 13 can create their own account, but there also might be some younger students who want to participate. If I assign a generic username, will I still have to enter their personal e-mail addresses?
Do I have to enter the those usernames, or do I assign them and the students enter them themselves?
I would be grateful for a step-by-step description of the procedure!

If they are under 13, they probably shouldn’t be on iNaturalist. You have to get parental agreement and fill out a form for anyone under 13 as far as I am aware.

Have you considered seek instead?


The teacher’s guide actually mentions a project where anonymous accounts have been generated for a school project (see Rockburn Elementary School example here:’s+guide). So I read this as it is encouraged to use inat also for younger students if the accounts are responsibly managed by a teacher

The anonymous general accounts are, as far as I’m aware, group accounts for which the teacher is administrator/responsible for the content. I’ve run projects with teachers doing this. Basically they make one account for each class/section and give the login info to the students. The students can then post under the account. The teacher checks all the observations, makes sure there aren’t fake ones, makes sure the quality is ok, etc. The teacher’s email is the one on the account.

As far as I know, and account for an under-13 student with their personal email still wouldn’t be allowed regardless of what their username is.

I guess the teacher could make individual accounts with their own email for individual class members, but this wouldn’t really be a good idea. For one thing, individuals aren’t supposed to have multiple iNat accounts. One extra group account (in addition to the teacher’s individual account) probably isn’t a big deal, but a bunch of accounts wouldn’t be good. Also, this would just be soooooooo much work for the teacher to check through all the observations posted. Conceivably, it could also be a problem in terms of identifying info. If a student posted from their home a lot, someone could tell that a student (though not which one) lived there, which could still be a potential issue with bad actors. With a whole class submitting observations, it would be much harder to tease this out.

I would recommend doing the group class account myself.


In my opinion, if each student isn’t ready to make their own account and follow the iNat rules and etiquette it might be best for them to use Seek or else use iNat data without creating accounts. Especially since they may not be savvy enough to protect their personal information or to act semi-serious in an environment shared with adults.
Also, I don’t know how much experience you have using iNat yourself. Have you tried both iNaturalist and Seek?


btw – we are very happy to have young naturalists join us and learn by doing and by immersing themselves in an experience. but schoolkids are those who most often break the rules, because they aren’t aware of them, or don’t expect there to be real consequences.

also, it’s not 100% serious. There are many threads devoted to #fun or #silliness , and your students might enjoy the Geralds of the World project. Or Gerald themself. They may also enjoy engaging with other young naturalists across the world.


Like others have said: before contemplating any iNat work with students, I recommend reading the Teacher’s Guide and really trying out iNat for a few weeks on your own. I’d also really recommend having a specific goal in mind - what do you want the students to get out of it?

If you still want to use iNat with your students and have them add observations, then my recommendation would be to have them all join a single class account which you control. There aren’t privacy issues there, and you can delete any offensive or fake content if it comes up.


Thank you all for your input, I will consider the various suggestions and try to find an option that work. Just some backgropund information: A group of senior students is organizing a project on insects in the area surrounding the school. They want as many students ar possible to participate; those students will be from different classes, which would require multiple class accounts. Before taking a final decision, I’ll see how many students actually want to take part. It is the first project of this type at our school, so it is difficult to estimate the students’ willingness to participate.

1 Like

If this is your first time and these students’ first time organizing an iNat event, you may want to give them more realistic expectations.
There’s always more logistics involved than one might expect. Making a great, successful event for one or two grades/classes will have a stronger impact than a messy mediocre attempt with a larger group. And then in future years you can include more of the student body.
Best of luck :)