iNaturalist Makes it Easy to Participate in Citizen Science
“Citizen science” is scientific research and data gathering that is conducted or assisted using public participation, often amateurs and nonprofessionals. Such public interest and wishing to contribute to science is a growing trend, providing many chances to tap into volunteers and collect data. All these extra eyes and ears (and photos) the public can provide, can greatly expand how much certain forms of data can be collected. This is what citizen science is all about, with regular people providing useful data, but it also can provide great opportunities for education and public events.
Bioblitzes are probably the best known natural history citizen science events. These are typically periods of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and public volunteers conduct intensive field study over a continuous time period (usually 24 hours) and record what they find. A Bioblitz provides a snap shot in time. While it is certainly not a complete record of what lives in the location, if you take enough snap shots over different times and seasons, you can get a good picture of what is going on there.
The free iNaturalist app is now more-or-less the standard way for bioblitzes and other citizen science projects to record natural history observations. The beauty of the app is that with a simple uploaded photo, crowd sourcing can then help identify the organism and the observation is recorded so that worldwide any researchers can data mine the info they need. You never know what piece of data you could be providing some researcher somewhere in the world. Here’s a link to various tutorials on how to use the free app: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/video+tutorials.