Using projects as mini citizen science activity (welcome suggestions/clarifications)

Hi Everyone,
In June I teach a science course for pre-service teachers who will be working with elementary and middle years level students. I am in Western Canada, prairie region.

One experience I want them to engage with is a citizen science project. However, I wanted to have them fairly focused down on a local experience, where they shared data they collected over that time around where they lived (most in the same locality) and discuss this information. This is more about the process of engagement than establishing research level information (though that’s desirable).
So…I thought I could create a small project (4-5 days) using iNaturalist around Birds (but could include other organisms) and have them gather their observations and as a class we could discuss both what we found as a group and the pedagogy of the undertaking.

Here’s some things I am wondering about…

What can iNaturalist allow me to accumulate and download in terms of data, i.e. graphs, excel sheets, can be downloaded from such a collection of data?

Can the information collected for the project be contained within the project or will other information collected in the same areas, automatically be included?

Anyway, if you want to offer some suggestions, advice on the use of iNaturalist in this endeavour I would welcome them.

Thanks for considering.


Welcome to the forum!

Just set the project settings for members only, all data is downloadable.

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Thanks Ally

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thanks Melodi.
I was looking over that just now…(finally)

I am assuming each of my students will need to create their own account.
Do you know is there a way to use tab delimited or csv lists to invite them “en masse”?

Suggestions on this along any lines is welcome.

Thanks again.

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When downloading the data, this is the export tool:

Great functionality and many usable filters

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Ah…thank you.
People are wonderfully responsive.

I am guessing then that out of the large collection of data on the iNaturalist site, data sets of various types (region, organism)could be crafted for download (?)

thanks again.


Hi Tim, welcome to iNat! You might find some useful information on these pages:

Once your project begins, you’ll be able to click the Observations tab, then the Export Observations button on the right side:

On the Export page that thebeachcomber linked to, you can filter by different organisms (taxa), places, date, etc.


Thank you and everyone else.
Very helpful.
I will look further.
and do some ‘practice’ run on this.


exactly, you can create almost any subset you want


Welcome to iNat, and thanks for asking for advice about using it with students. :-) Best of luck!

If your students will be making observations, it can be difficult to photograph birds without some expensive equipment, so I might suggest something more stationary and immeidately available, like plants and invertebrates. You can upload sounds via our Android app and website, which works for birds.

The only way for someone under 13 to have a legal iNat account is to sign up via this method, which requires parental permisson and a small donation. I recommend using a classroom account that you can control, unless it’s absolutely necessary for the students to have their own account. This is discussed more in the Teacher’s Guide, which @bouteloua linked to.

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we are underway with lots of observations.
pre-service teachers seem to be very intrigued with the iNaturalist effort.

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