Eastern carpenter bee. Image credit: Laura Eidietis

This autumn, EEB students, faculty and staff teamed up for an iNaturalist Challenge to observe and photograph some of the surrounding biodiversity. The activity helps participants open their eyes a little wider to the natural world.

Three teams engaged in the iNaturalist challenge for three weeks, from Sept 24 - October 15. According to the judge, Professor Alexey Kondrashov, “There was a lot of parity among the teams. Nonetheless, GGOAL came out in first place with the most species observed and most observations. Teams Isolation-By-Social-Distance and AGOODTEAM were close behind.” 

Kondrashov noted that AGOODTEAM stood out in terms of really outstanding observations of organisms. Teresa Pegan of the Isolation by Social Distance team had the best individual effort in the challenge overall. Pegan also led the field in 2020.

Genus Tapinella. Image credit: Teresa Pegan

Team members included, for GGOAL: Gail Kuhnlein, Grace Zhang, Olivia Vought, Ana Austin and Laura Eidietis. The team had 146 observations including 109 different species.

AGOODTEAM: Keyi Feng, Siliang Song, Patricia Torres-Pineda and Xukang Shen. The team had 129 observations including 106 different species.

Isolation by Social Distance: Libby Davenport, Teresa Pegan, Natasha Stepanova, Diana Vergara and Will Weaver. The team had 129 observations including 93 different species.

If you search for the project on the app, these teams are under Get Outdoors EEB 2021.

American toad. Image credit: Patricia Torres-Pineda

iNaturalist is a popular nature app that helps users identify the plants and animals in their surroundings. The community comprises more than a million scientists and naturalists. “What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. iNaturalist is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society,” according to the iNaturalist website.

The event was organized by the EEB Social Committee with special thanks to Kondrashov for judging this year’s competition. The social committee includes: Laura Eidietis, Alex Kondrashov, Carly Nowicki, Nathan Sadowsky and Patricia Torres-Pineda.

Onward to 2022, naturalists!