The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: inaturalist

1 smokies most wanted infographic credit Emma Oxford GSMA

This story was provided by Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Next demonstration on Thursday, Oct. 20

GATLINBURG — Great Smoky Mountains National Park is celebrating the success of a community science project led by nonprofit partner Discover Life in America (DLiA) called Smokies Most Wanted. The initiative encourages visitors to record life they find in the park through the iNaturalist nature app. DLiA and the park use these data points to map species range, track exotic species, and even discover new kinds of life in the park. 

“iNaturalist usage in the Smokies has skyrocketed from just four users in 2011, to 3,800 in 2020, to now more than 7,100 users,” said Will Kuhn, DLIA’s director of science and research. 

In August, the project reached a milestone, surpassing 100,000 records of insects, plants, fungi, and other Smokies life submitted through the app. Among them are 92 new species not previously seen in the park.

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Celithemis elisa femaleThe calico pennant dragonfly (Celithemis elisa) is among 77 new species discovered in Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the last decade. Wikipedia Commons

Apps and public research help uncover new layers of life in Southern Appalachia

This article was originally published by Smoky Mountain News.

Visitors armed only with a free app and love of nature have documented more than 4,000 species in Great Smoky Mountains National Park since 2011, according to the nonprofit Discover Life in America, including 77 not previously documented in the park by anyone else. 

DLiA, which manages the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory project that aims to catalogue all species residing in the extremely diverse park, recently analyzed more than 71,000 records from the app, iNaturalist, to discover the impact these casual observations have made on the project. 

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Photo by Valerie PolkA child snaps a photo of a flower beetle on a wild hydrangea in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Valerie Polk

Grab your phone and get to some citizen science

Rhonda Wise writes for the public affairs office of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Discover Life in America (DLiA), the nonprofit science research partner, is inviting the public to participate in the Smokies Most Wanted program. This initiative allows visitors to help preserve park species by recording sightings of animals, plants, and other organisms from their smartphones using the iNaturalist app. 

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