What made you stay on iNat?

Everyone here was a new user at some point. Now many have become major observers or identifiers, enriching the iNaturalist community. I’m curious what changed you from a casual observer to a full-time iNatter. For me, it was when giselle9 started following me. I thought, “Wow, somebody likes me!” and decided to stay. (Thanks, Giselle!)


It was a here rather than there issue, and I’ll admit that my engagement with anything (on or off iNat) is sporadic, but the reason that I continue coming back to iNat and gave up entirely on iSpotnature is that there was a strange but happy sense that if there was an issue (e.g. gaps in the dictionary) for people in communities that were outside the Global North / Developed World / Consumer Nations, there were mechanism for and interest in fixing it; it feels as though there is a genuine global community rather than luring in SADC users as a form of complex virtue signalling.


It was the first website for me like that, with all taxons in it, easy reporting of observations and map that is useful and community that is very friendly and experts not found anywhere else. I was invited for plants, but stayed for everything that was on the website.
P.S. As oters said and I agree with that totally - lack of observations around where I live, when I started there were some Russian observations, bu nothing like we have today and nothing lie what we will have in 2 years, there’re still so many bare territories that it’s impossible to not be a pioneer of exploring those!


I opened an iNat account in 2012, but did very little with it until 2016 when a colleague started using it in her Biology classes and asked me if I wanted to use her project in mine as well (we work for the same school). I did…and I just kind of got hooked. Then, I noticed this fellow ‘sambiology’ (Sam Kieschnick) ID’ing all of our observations. I reached out to him to ask about cameras, as I was only using my cell phone for observations at the time. He came to speak at a Native Plant Society meeting I was attending, not long after that. He was like an iNat evangelist. He had such enthusiasm and it made me want to participate even more. I quickly became a ‘power user’ and got invited to these iNat gathering/bioblitz events he would put together. At these events, I met all these super cool people who are now good friends of mine. We get together at pretty regular intervals even now, whether it be for an event that Sam puts together or just 2-3 of us going out for a day of iNatting. So, I would say that I came for the critters, but stayed for the people. It’s such a cool thing when online connections turn into real world friendships.


I don’t really know why I stayed! Partly, I could not find work, and needed something to do. It was also gratifying to be part of a larger community, to contribute to something to biodiversity. I also rediscovered my love of insects, especially moths, and how much I love to learn and to teach if I can. So a whole bunch of things, and I’m glad I stayed. It’s been humbling and gratifying, and fun.


the community, before all. both in general, and the friends I’ve made. with few exceptions, everyone is welcoming, with hardly any toxic people.

it’s a place where I can excel and learn and improve myself, with plenty of encouragement, positive feedback, and experts willing to share their knowledge.

one of the few places where I can be completely myself, and nerd on about plants or whatever, and have people not only tolerate it, but understand and join in.

and of course, I am a strong supporter of open data and open-source. I think these sorts of projects are the foundation for bringing scientific literacy and compassion for the environment to the public / a new generation. so every ID I make, feels like I am supporting global science and environmental causes in my small way.

observing is fun. it helps me be more mindful of my surroundings.

lots of other reasons, too. this is just what came immediately to mind.


I m new here (day 3), my reason to keep coming here for now is the idea of sharing knowledge. Even for a single small knowledge is being served and helped to curious minds, that satisfies my belief to humanity and the future. This is the best way of using technology for everything to achieve better things in life.


Being able to contribute to a larger community is one of the main reasons I chose and stayed with iNat.
coming from a small country it felt good connecting to “something bigger”.
It also motivated my to try to add “my area” onto the iNaturalist map, by adding observations but also places, common names etc.

  1. Possibility to enhance my knowledge on other things, not only lichens (got rusted after many years concentrating on one group).
  2. Possiblility to share my knowledge and to educate in lichens.
  3. Community - just great and it does exist, contrary to other nature pages!
  4. Great way to collect, organize, re-visit, check and use the data.
  5. To understand how citizen science works more in-depth - with all pros and cons, human attitudes, etc.
  6. And finally - simple: this is absolutely the best nature recording platform of all existing (for the reasons listed above).

First site I found that really helped me open up to nature all around me. Was a good way of cataloging my own observations as well as learning about species that I had no idea existed. Also love how passionate a lot of you are. The format of the site is also very soothing to the eyes and easy to comprehend, which is a big plus.


Any organisation whose first ‘rule’ is to assume people mean no harm is one I want to belong to!


I love hiking, travelling, animals, nature, looking for cool new places to do/see all those things on maps, and collecting things, so combining all of them at once is my main reason for obsessing over iNat. It’s cool to see new species and be able to know their names and learn about them when I go somewhere new and I like how iNat has helped me notice the amount of and variety of life I encounter any time I go out. Also the map feature gives me a great place to reminisce about the places I’ve been and see how many more places I can go. And finally the new life list is really cool since it lets me see all of the different species I’ve seen and how they relate to one another, even if they’re an ocean away.


I started out on iNat as a pandemic project and discovered that I really enjoyed the business of collecting observations and figuring out, with the help of the iNat community, what exactly everything is. Plus, of course, you get to hang out with really cool people like @fluffyinca .


I think the better question is, why would I ever leave iNat? Haha.


For a number of years in the past I was very active writing on Wikipedia. I even knew Ken-itchi a little bit back then from my and his Wikipedia days.

But once I discovered iNaturalist, I could tell that iNat was the perfect match for my talents, my abilities, and my interests. I was born a naturalist, and have been deep into nature since I was a toddler. It was clear to me that iNat was and is the perfect online platform for naturalists.

I saw immediately that the iNat interface was very well designed, and very well set up. It was pretty to look at, and very easy to use. Working out how to do things on iNat seemed to me to be almost 100% intuitive.

The fact that iNat makes it possible to meet other naturalists in person, and become friends with some of them, is of course a very big plus. When I first I moved to NYC in the 1980s, I knew no naturalists at all, and the only ones I ever ran into were a few birders in Central Park, most of whom could not imagine why anyone would want to investigate anything at all in nature other than birds!

So iNat for me was like coming home. I have learned so much here, and mostly without effort.

The developers and staff are great, and the community is great too! Such nice people!


The last project I participated in COMPELLED me to keep going out everyday (pandemic escape) and explore nature preserves both familiar and new. I finally came to be learning as much about flora and fauna around my home territory as I had on vacations. I watch my favorite haunts to see what’s blooming, and scout new trips in advance. Ditto what everyone has said about friendliness (esp. from experts), nerds, learning, plus the terrific photography. What really hooked me was a researcher pointing out a sample of anther-smut fungi (huh?!) on one of my observations that contributed to a worldwide study of its spread, to investigate plant disease tendencies via citizen science observations. Wow! He was so kind as to link me to an article about the study, and point out the uniqueness of my observation up to that time. I have since used that example to encourage participation by other newbies.


What made me stay on INaturalist was the friendly community and very easy usage for someone who was not very experienced in any particular taxon group or photography.


Much like those protein folding games, I love it because I feel like I’m advancing science, even if I’m mostly doing so with rudimentary data improvements. It all adds up.


I was in various naturalist groups in Facebook, but these were always pretty violent and male-dominant, so in iNat I felt in a safe place, and decided to stay here.


(It’s social media, it’s addictive, checking in each day for updates, have I got an ID on that …)

And. It suits us. It’s interesting, we are interested. Especially when the addiction is fed by a conversation, which can roll on over days, months, years even. How can we not stay for the next … this is such and such because, or not because, and the learning curve unfolds to a Fibonacci spiral. Always more to come! 'I am working on the taxonomy of … and the deck of cards is shuffled and everything is rearranged.