Butterfly & Moth Nectar Plant Project on iNaturalist

For far too many years, the learning of MySQL was relegated to “later”. For a number of reasons, Friday evening turned out to be a good time to investigate, and see if the data from an iNat project created Aug 2013, could be extracted as envisaged.

What a surprise. Within a couple hours I had downloaded some test data as a .csv file from the iNaturalist project, created a MySQL database in my WordPress account, and loaded the project .csv file into the MySQL database. It was very straightforward and fast. Should have learned it earlier. The tools are excellent.

Spent a few more hours extracting two kinds of data from the newly created MySQL database (there is a bunch more to learn, including how to do charts and things), as a first step. First was a column of the approx 250 Butterfly & Moth species added to the iNaturalist project, with a list of all the plants they were observed feeding from. The second is the reverse – a column of all the plants observed, with a list of butterflies seen on each.

This is a very simple, preliminary step in a longer effort – there is also a taxa issue with Sleepy Orange that needs to be resolved. Also, to have good data, about 10 times as many observations need to be added to the project – i.e. 10,000 instead of 1,000.

The two pages can be seen here:

and here is the project from which it was created.

iNaturalist and California Academy of Sciences

Congratulations to iNaturalist, one of the sites I visit daily.


We’re pleased to announce that we’ve joined the California Academy of Sciences! In business speak we were “acquired,” but that sounds so one-sided. We’ve been working with our friends at the Academy on various projects for over a year now, and we’ve talked about joining the fold for just as long, so there’s nothing one-sided about it. Scott’s a native Californian and Ken-ichi’s basically a naturalized Californian at this point in his Golden State tenure, so we’ve both looked up to the Academy for a long time, and we know they’re just as passionate about connecting people to nature as we are.

See more …. http://inaturalist.tumblr.com/

Scientific observation platform allows citizen scientists to contribute to global biodiversity database

SAN FRANCISCO (April 25, 2014)—The California Academy of Sciences has acquired the crowd-sourcing scientific observation platform iNaturalist.org, an initiative that was announced at the Academy’s annual Big Bang Gala fundraiser last night.

iNaturalist.org is a social network and mobile application for sharing biodiversity observations, with a mission to connect people to nature through technology. Since its launch in 2008, the app has been accessed by more than 1.4 million visitors around the world, with a new observation recorded every 45 seconds. These observations, which include over 600,000 natural history sightings representing over 50,000 distinct species to date, are verified and referenced by researchers from around the world.

“We are thrilled to embark on this new chapter with iNaturalist, a platform we believe perfectly complements the Academy’s mission to explore, explain, and sustain life,” says Meg Lowman, Ph.D., Chief of Science and Sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences. “Together, we are uniquely positioned to engage the public in citizen science through accessible research with real sustainability outcomes, whether out in the field or in K-12 classrooms around the world.”

See more … Press Release

Sand and Sunshine near Solvang

An eventful start to the year: heavy work load, things breaking and needing attention, bad drought, has meant few nature outings … until Saturday. I was able to attend the second of four Saturday morning group-outings planned this spring. The first, in the middle of March had to be skipped; thus just two remain after Saturday.

Read more …

More Mesa on Mobile with Mantra – behind the scenes

horsebig After ten years of adding new pages to the More Mesa website as single HTML files, the prospect of adding more files in the new year, led to a feeling of “no more”, “that’s enough” – the number of files was becoming unmanageable with single-file access. A better bet – load the 200+ pages into a WordPress database, where content can be managed.

And with WordPress plugins, it makes slideshow creation and labeling easier, the generation of the post archives automatic, adding/changing menus easier, searching possible, etc, and the fonts look better anti-aliased. The site also has a White-tailed Kite icon that can be saved to the bookmarks bar. And last but not least, anyone familiar with WordPress could edit and maintain the site without too much of a learning curve, should I not be able to do so. (The old pages will be kept for a couple months, and although the “nofollow” meta was added to the old files, they will probably show up in searches until they are deleted.)

An interesting thing happened, when investigating what the revamped website looked like on a mobile device: a nice surprise – the Mantra WordPress theme used for the upgrade has a mobile display option. Most of the pages displayed with no problem on the smaller device, but some had to be reformatted.

Impressive and useful web tools have been developed for others to use, mostly free and customizable. The available open-source and open-use software utilities are a wonderful thing – entities with which an unlimited number of stories can be told, in an unending variety. The collection of web tools also avoids the time-consuming and time-wasting reinvention of many wheels, thousands of times over.

Click to see the upgraded More Mesa Preservation Coalition website with a wonderful new header image by Ron Williams. And thanks to Valerie for ten years of a great, fun, and supportive working relationship. It is a privilege to help, particularly as she along with others, had consideration (no phone calls) for those times when I was overloaded with other work.

H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R
May it be healthier and happier for all, for all creatures/species great and small.