What can iNaturalist community do for our fellow naturalists in Ukraine?

Please delete if this is not an appropriate post here.

The news from Ukraine are awful, and by now, almost everybody knows that the war has escalated.
I am seeking ideas, is there something that, we, as iNaturalist community can do to support our fellow naturalists from Ukraine?

I am not talking about some obviuos things, like donating to humanitarian organizations, or being available and reaching our friends from Ukraine, but anything that our community could focus on.

Suggestions from Ukrainian users would be very welcome.

I am living in Poland, and I have a couch and some storage space for naturalist collections.


I was thinking about writing a similar, but more neutral post this morning. One of the things I am eternally grateful for is that iNat is apolitical.

I think we should acknowledge all of our colleagues who live in conflict zones - or places where day to day life is hard - yet continue to do their part for iNat. There are less conflict areas worldwide than when I was young. Poor national development remains largely unchanged. So I hope that anyone in these areas is still able to do their work, and manages to stay safe. Based on recent iNat ‘safety’ posts, even the rich world is not free from intimidation and harassment.


Sorry, my country was in USRR block, so I cannot be “neutral” on this matter.
I agree in a sense that this is a largely eurocentric issue, and our users from countries not invested in this conflict might cross it out as another war somewhere far away.

This is not a political matter for me, just a matter of people whose lives and life’s work is being ruined. That includes naturalists, scientists, and inat users. I am not asking for inat staff to take a stance on any issue here. I am certain that inat members from Russia do not want this conflict as well, and it will hurt them too. This is not a post to build any political divisions, I am just looking for ideas and help from our community, to our community.


I’ve lived and worked in conflict zones for a good portion of my adult life but I have to admit this question has me stumped. Getting physical collections out of the country is going to be very difficult if it isn’t already impossible. Getting digital data out may still be possible. For any Ukrainian naturalists out there who may still be able to read this I can only recommend you make as many backups on as many media as possible for all your important data. You should only do this after you have made yourself and your family as safe as you are able.

May cooler heads prevail.


I think your post is sufficiently neutral. You have not even explicitly taken sides on political matters - just to help people who are suffering. One does not have to take sides to acknowledge the suffering and fear that will be caused by today’s events, and your offer to assist someone who may be seeking to escape with their collection is excellent.

I too am glad that iNat is apolitical and I will not be excluding or avoiding anyone or any place on this platform. One day (hopefully soon) peace will need to be rebuilt, we may as well start here and now.

I look forward to any ideas anyone may have for those of us who are further away to help care for our fellow human beings.


and the wildlife that had reclaimed the exclusion zone around Chernobyl. Now on the front line.


I understand. My use of the word “neutral” was merely to indicate that I do not want to take any sides in any place with conflict or political/economic strife. I want everyone on iNat to stay safe and hopefully continue their work. And that my friends and colleagues in those areas are in no danger from things I might say. I would consider any further elaboration a breach of trust on my part.


Pray for peace and be kind to everyone we come across.


Maybe iNat could issue some sort of an international passport or a pass that would declare the person a uninvolved individual engaged in scientific research, guaranteeing that his scientific data is free of military or political value, and an free movement of said person is requested.


There’re no sides to choose, humans are against the war, rich (worldwide) are for the war as they always gained from it and it never stopped, some crazy nationalists from each country live in their phantasy and are used by the reach, that’s all, so you can take side of a smart person and tell different goverments they need to stop already.


I agree with you. I just do not want anything I say online to endanger you, or any person in say, Ethiopia or Iraq or Iran etc. This also applies to people I know in the US and Canada. If I want to take a political stance on anything, I will do it through different media.


It´s horrible what´s happening. Stay safe on both sides!


I intend to donate money to relief efforts. Not sure what iNat in particular can do, but I applaud your efforts.


Thank you for raising the subject @boguo. I am reminded of this butterfly specimen, “collected under shell fire” during World War 1. I see some Ukrainians uploading observations even today! May peace soon be restored to your parks and fields.

As one who is neither apolitical nor a pacifist nor neutral in this conflict, I don’t think it is naive, or the position of a useful idiot, to imagine nature study as something that can bring people even of warring tribes together, so there is hope in that maybe.


Inspired by your post, I’ve gone and done some identifications for observations from Ukraine. It’s a very small way to show solidarity, but perhaps something many of us could help with - even just going through the Unknowns.


I will definitely do that. Thanks for the suggestion.
RIP for all the people and organisms who passed away because of the war…


we all should be careful about donations. I think everyone knows about relief NGOs springing up due to wars and crises, only to be uncovered as charity fraud. In this conflict, Russian government took care of that already, destroying trust of people like you and me by creating fake accounts and shell organizations. As due diligence, run the name of a charity organizations through the /RBI subreddit on Reddit, and perform three-keyword search queries.


just to help visualize, here are the top 25 observers in Ukraine ex. the Crimean peninsula, based on observations since 2018: https://jumear.github.io/stirfry/iNat_top_observers_map.html?place_id=8860&not_in_place=12376,12392&top_n=25&d1=2018-01-01

keep these folks (and everyone else in Ukraine) in your thoughts and prayers, and please everyone stay safe.


I looked at the iNat observations in the Ukraine this morning and tweeted them out. The more people are elevated and have international eyes on this work, the better. For most of us who are far from conflict zones, the best thing we can do is to let people know we see them, they are not forgotten and we are advocating for them the best we can.


I’ve done a couple of moths from Russian observers. It’s hard, because I don’t know the species there. And yes, the deaths of people and organisms is such a waste.