Hello, my name is Ashley, and I’m an addict.

I’ve been using iNat since September 2012 and often find myself with no room left on my phone to take more photos because it’s full of photos needing to be uploaded to iNat. I have no formal training in nature-related studies, but I’ve been interested in it since I was a child.

My interest grew when I got into macro photography and, through it, gained the ability to see tiny things. I quickly got over my irritation with the bugs that photo-bombed the flowers I had started out photographing, and my interest in the bugs overran my initial interest in the pretty flowers. I first started seriously getting into citizen science through BugGuide when I discovered it in 2006, and have been delighted since then in the growing number of helpful CS projects and tools, although sometimes the number of them can feel overwhelming. I really wish there was an underlying network connecting them all together - that would be supremely useful to both us contributors and to any researchers trying to use the data.

Most of the photos I submit here were taken with my phone, since it’s always on hand, and because of that one might think my primary interest is in plants. That’s only because they’re the easiest living subjects to photograph with a phone, and through iNat I’ve learned so much more than I expected about plants, just as BugGuide helped me learn about bugs. But when I have my “real cameras” in hand, I concentrate on birds and arthropods. I’ve spent hours at my own patio lights over the years, and yet they continue to draw in more things I haven’t seen before. In this way, the natural world keeps me interested and fascinated.

And through iNat, I’ve met some wonderful people, both virtually and in real life. Thanks to all of you who helped me with identifications, or taken the time to explain how you know what that thing is. I am always learning! :-)