Frequently Asked Questions

Get the Intel on iNaturalist

Who can use iNaturalist? Can my kids join the effort? Why are we even collecting all this data? Get the answers to all your questions here!

  • Who can participate?

    This project is perfect for anyone with an interest in the natural world. For those wishing to contribute observations, you must be local to the area or visit occasionally. Only observations documented within the boundaries of our flagship properties will be added to the project. For those who want to contribute by identifying others’ observations, you can live anywhere in the world! The only requirement is that you have access to a computer or mobile device, and an internet connection.

    We encourage anyone who wants to spend more time outdoors, explore protected lands in the Monadnock Region, become more familiar with local flora, fauna, and fungi, or contribute to a long-term dataset to get involved! We hope you’ll join us.

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  • How do I share my observations with this project?

    Any iNaturalist observations made within the boundaries of our flagship properties will automatically be added to the project. It’s as simple as that!

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  • What if I can’t identify many species yet?

    No problem! iNaturalist is a community science platform where users help one another identify organisms. For species you are unsure of, we recommend adding the lowest taxonomic level you are confident in (e.g. “birds” or “sparrows,” “flowering plants” or “asters”), so that people with expertise in those taxa can more easily find your observation. In addition to the iNaturalist community at large, Harris Center staff monitor observations in the project and add identifications when they can.

    If you would like identification assistance in real-time, you can use the app, “Seek by iNaturalist.” Seek uses the power of image recognition technology to help you identify your finds, and does not require registration or store user data.

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  • Is this project kid-friendly?

    This project is a great way to enjoy semi-structured outdoor time with the young ones in your life. Kids are often some of the best observers of otherwise-overlooked nature, so let them lead the way! You can even make it a game by challenging them to find certain organisms or taxa (for example, “five trees, three fungi, and four insects”). Older children will be able to take and upload photos themselves, but younger kids may need a helping hand with the technology. Please note that users must be 13 years or older to make an iNaturalist account.

    On a rainy day, you can also explore recent local finds on and try to identify them together. If you need help identifying species, you can use the app “Seek by iNaturalist.” Seek uses the power of image recognition technology to help you identify your finds, and does not require registration or store user data. Kids aged 13+ can optionally log in to Seek using their iNaturalist credentials and upload their observations to iNaturalist from there.

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  • How can I contribute to the project if hiking trails are inaccessible to me?

    Your observations are valuable — whether one or many! There’s no need to be out on the trail to contribute. If you look closely, you can spend hours just scouring the edges of a parking area. And remember — observations can be big or small, from the tiniest insect to the tree towering overhead. In the summer months, the Harris Center’s pollinator garden is abuzz with insects ready to be documented, and in the wintertime, our bird feeders attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, and more. Please keep in mind that the pollinator garden is not fully ADA-compliant, but there is some level of accessibility for folks who use mobility devices.

    If you would like to borrow our all-terrain wheelchair for use on Harris Center grounds and nearby rail trails, please contact the front office at (603) 525-3394.

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  • Do I need to attend a training?

    No formal training is necessary! Using iNaturalist is simple, and you can train yourself using the links on our Getting Started page.

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  • What is the aim of this project? How will the data be used?

    The aims of this project are threefold: (1) to identify which species are utilizing our conserved lands, (2) to better understand how those species might be changing over time in response to climate change and other factors, and (3) to promote community engagement in the SuperSanctuary through an enriching, self-guided learning experience.

    Data collected by volunteers can help us gain a better understanding of species distribution, the presence of rare species or species of concern, and where invasive species might be occurring — with an eye toward informing land management decisions and setting priorities for invasive species removal.

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  • Will there be opportunities for project contributors to gather as a group?

    Stay tuned! We hope to bring folks together for BioBlitzes, workshops, and more. Keep an eye on our Events page and our Community Science Facebook page for more information.

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  • If my land is under conservation easement with the Harris Center, can it become part of the iNaturalist project?

    Absolutely! To find out more, or to add your property to the project, contact our staff ecologist Nate Marchessault at (603) 525-3394 or by email.

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  • What if I can’t get a photo of an organism?

    Some organisms, like birds and nocturnal animals, aren’t very approachable by phone-wielding humans or can be difficult to see. To help document such species, iNaturalist also allows users to upload audio recordings directly through the app or from a sound file saved on their phone or computer. This is a great feature for documenting birds, frogs, crickets, and more!

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  • Do I have to make observations using the app? What if I want to use a real camera?

    The iNaturalist app is really convenient for making observations. It automatically records the date and place of your observations, and seamlessly uploads multiple photos from your phone or tablet . But if you prefer using a real camera, observations can also be shared using the Upload tool on the iNaturalist website. If your camera does not have a built-in GPS, then you will need to manually plot each observation’s location during the upload process. You can speed this up by geotracking your position with an app or GPS unit, then syncing the track to your photos. To learn more:

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Contact Us

For more information about using iNaturalist in the SuperSanctuary, please contact our staff ecologist Nate Marchessault at (603) 525-3394 or by email.