Hands-on learning

Below is an excerpt from a plant list I made for a trip last year to Figueroa Mountain in early May, long before I had heard of iNaturalist. (Tarja Sagar liked the list very much because the plants were grouped by place, and thus she did not have to continuously flip through pages, and being a much better botanist than I will ever be, took this list in hand at each of the stops to find the plants on the list, and more.)

Figueroa Mountain Plant List with thumbnails
Below is an excerpt from a similar plant list made from csv data downloaded from iNaturalist (derived from uploaded observations), and then run through an offline program that automatically selects the photos of plants recorded within a specified radius of defined “stops”. Printed and laminated, and handed out to kids/adults who return them at the end, could provide a hands-on learning experience – with “here is a list of expected plants at the stops … see if you can find them, or anything not on the list”. All the leader has to do is answer questions sparked by discovery. (Note – the list can be easily regenerated if new plant species have been added to iNaturalist for the Figueroa Mountain area.)

A comment by an early user of the page before the “Places” option was added: “Also, thank you a thousand times for the beautiful site you have built. I have been using it this week as I prepare to lead a short hike around Lover’s Loop, the new Midland trail. Your photos are gorgeous and your information impeccably presented.” Laura Baldwin, Sedgwick Reserve docent. (Quoted here with her permission.)

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