07 de abril de 2020

Tech Tip Tuesday: Digiscoping

All this sunshine is making me optimistic. While I know that it’s not going to last, it’s at least inspiring me to get out, play in my garden, and explore the nearby woods, before the next rush of cold and rain. And it’s also adding some much-needed physical light to a dark, uncertain time. It’s much easier to step away from the news when the view out the window looks warm and inviting.

The wildlife too seems to be capitalizing on this sunny spell. Over the weekend I saw a moose while out hiking, as well as sign of other animals, including coyotes and a bear. Sadly, I could only photograph the moose during my hike, however I did get to photograph a Barred Owl while out gardening the other day. In short, the wildlife is abundant, and signs of spring are everywhere—you don’t have to go far! Even just a quick trip into your backyard can introduce you to new wildlife and plant neighbors.

This Week on Tech Tip Tuesday

What happens when the animal or plant you wish to photograph is far away, say at the top of a tree or across a field? If you are a professional or advanced amateur photographer, you probably have a camera lens that can bridge the gap. However, if you usually take pictures with your smartphone or don’t have a wide array of camera lenses, you may struggle in these situations to get a clear photo.

If you fall into the latter category, there’s good news—by using either a spotting scope or pair of binoculars, you can take close-up photos without an expensive camera or lens. Known as “digiscoping” (when done through a spotting scope), this practice was originally coined in the 1990’s and has gained popularity in recent years. This method allows birders and other naturalists to get a close-up shot of the critter in question while still giving it plenty of space. However, this practice is not just for birds and other flighty wildlife. You can also use this technique to snap close-ups of fungi or plants that you may not be able to get to close to, such as flowers at the top of a tree.

It’s possible to get incredibly clear photos using this method, however there are several factors to keep in mind.

Spacing—The more distance there is between your camera lens and the eyepiece of your viewing equipment, the more likely you are to get “vignetting” (a dark, circular frame around your photo). The lenses also need to be close enough to avoid light getting between them—this will cause a shadow in the affected part of your picture. You also want to make sure that your phone or camera is held firmly in place, otherwise it may slip and leave you with a partial photo.

There are plenty of fancy adapters for connecting your phone or camera to your spotting scope or binoculars, however these can be expensive. It’s possible to brace the devices with your hand, keeping your finger between your phone lens and eyepiece, however this works best for smartphones. You can also make your own adapter at home using PVC pipe or a similarly sized piece of material. A quick Google search shows many different websites that might guide you through this process.

Stability—You want your setup to be as stable as possible since magnification amplifies small movements and can lead to blurry photos. When using a spotting scope, use a tripod to help stabilize your image. Binoculars are a bit trickier but with some practice you will find ways to brace your arms that will help your photos come out more clearly.

Lighting—Sometimes photos will come out underexposed when digiscoping. One of the most common causes is zooming in with your camera or phone because it reduces the amount of light taken in. Zooming in also further amplifies any shakiness that may occur. While it may seem somewhat counterintuitive, try to avoid using your camera’s or phone’s zoom when digiscoping.

Try not to be discouraged if your first digiscoped photos aren’t perfect. Digiscoping takes practice, even for seasoned photographers. However, once you get comfortable with it, it’s a powerful tool for getting close-up shots of faraway specimens or photographing animal behavior that you may not see if you were closer. And remember, any photo of a species, even those that aren’t National Geographic-quality, adds more valuable data than no photo.

TTT Task of the Week

If you have a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope, practice photographing plants, animals, and fungi from afar. You can photograph birds in your yard, or even a flower you see growing across the street. Just make sure to stay safe!

If you want some more, in-depth information on how to get started, check out either this article from All About Birds or this article from Audubon.

As always, thanks for helping us map Vermont’s biodiversity, stay safe, and happy observing!

Anotado en abril 07, martes 15:03 por emilyanderson2 emilyanderson2 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de abril de 2020

Join Our Spring Wildflower Phenology Annotation Blitz!

Vermont Bloodroot flowering phenology for iNaturalist annotated data. There are several hundred observations that are not annotated! Help us add important data. (click on image to visit page).

Long-term flowering records initiated by Henry David Thoreau in 1852 have been used in Massachusetts to monitor phenological changes. Phenology—the study of the timing of natural events such as migration, flowering, leaf-out, or breeding—is key to examine and unravel the effects of climate change on ecosystems. Record-breaking spring temperatures in 2010 and 2012 resulted in the earliest flowering times in recorded history for dozens of spring-flowering plants of the eastern United States.

You can be like Thoreau right from home! There are thousands of images of plants that observers like you have added to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. But, they have not been annotated so that we can easily track phenology.

Help us add this valuable information. It's easy and fun! All you have to do is look at beautiful images of plants and note whether they have flower buds, flowers, or fruits.

Learn more on the VCE Blog post about this mission!

Anotado en abril 03, viernes 16:36 por kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de abril de 2020

March 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

Congratulations to coleen61 for winning the March 2020 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of the rare Crested Caracara that made an appearance this month in Woodstock, Vermont won the adoration of naturalists this month. Incredibly, this is the second time this species has been seen in Vermont! You can read all about this sighting and the first one in a great blog post by VCE's Nathaniel Sharp.

Withover 3,300 photo-observations submitted by 408 observers this month, it was very competitive. Click on the image to see and explore all of the amazing photo-observations.

Known for their wandering, Crested Caracaras have very infrequently turned up in such far-flung places as New YorkMaine, and even Nova Scotia. These surprise appearances, however, are not believed to result from migratory “overshooting,” as Crested Caracaras are a sedentary resident species throughout their range. Instead, it is thought that primarily young birds, and occasionally older individuals, disperse in search of new territories, occasionally flying remarkably long distances, perhaps being blown even further off course by strong weather patterns. These oddball birds that stray so far from home may be the pioneers ultimately leading to species’ range expansions over time—flying far and wide ensures finding new habitats, ecological niches and territories, some of which may provide suitable breeding opportunities. While climate change very likely plays a factor in the incremental range expansions northward of birds like Tufted Titmice and Northern Mockingbirds, or upslope in birds like the Blackpoll Warbler, far-ranging individual birds like the Vermont Crested Caracara, or Maine’s famous Great Black Hawk were likely driven by other as-yet unknown reasons.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fav’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!

Anotado en abril 01, miércoles 15:57 por kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

31 de marzo de 2020

Tech Tip Tuesday: All About Your Dashboard

Mud season is here! Well, I guess it has probably been here for a while, but this week I was finally able to venture far enough from my home to encounter it. Although I live on a dirt road, it has yet to substantially soften up. Over the weekend, I opted to take my socially-distanced exercise to a hiking trail leading off a distant backroad. While I was prepared for cold, rainy weather, I wasn’t prepared for 6-inch muddy trenches. Good thing my car has all-wheel drive—otherwise I might have found myself in some real trouble.

Besides muddy road trenches, bleak skies, and lingering ice patches, the hike was wonderful. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that I treasure my moments outdoors infinitely more now that I spend many hours each week wandering between rooms in my house, trying to find the quietest spot for Zoom conference calls. This hike was particularly interesting because I saw both a live and a dead porcupine within a span of about 100 feet along the trail. After another couple hundred feet of hiking, I found a den site. It’s moments like these that help take me away from all the stress around me and make me excited to get back out.

A final note, if you do choose to visit a trail or park off your property, please remember to treat it with respect. With social distancing measures in place, there are fewer folks out running routine maintenance. At this time, we must all do our part to keep the wild spaces we love clean and safe.

This Week on Tech Tip Tuesday

This week we’re going to familiarize ourselves with a section of iNaturalist that we regularly visit but may not pay much attention to: our dashboards. This is the page we see when we first open iNaturalist on our computers. While many of us (myself included) probably just glance at it quickly before moving on to search or upload observations, it has a lot of useful features. You can use it to stay up to date with other users and projects you follow, view your calendar, check out your personal observations, and even keep a journal. Below, I will walk you through each of the tabs and explain what each can do.

First, you need to get to your dashboard. iNaturalist should open to this page when you login. If you are trying to get there from a different part of the site, go to your profile icon in the top right corner, hover your cursor over it so that the drop-down menu appears, and click “dashboard”. You can also find it at https://www.inaturalist.org/home.

Now that you’ve found it, let’s explore some tabs.

Home – This is the first tab in the line-up and the one that iNaturalist usually opens to. This is the page where you will find updates from users and projects you follow. For example, for those of you who are members of the Vermont Atlas of Life project, an update will appear here whenever the VAL team posts Tech Tip Tuesday or any other article. Ultimately, you can think of it like any of your usual social media newsfeeds.

You can also filter the updates on your home page to show all updates, your content, people you’re following, or real time discussions by clicking the different categories listed above the newsfeed.

Profile – Here you will find your personal profile. If you haven’t added any information to your profile, I highly recommend you do so. You can check out this installment of TTT to learn more about creating an awesome profile.

Observations – The observations tab will take you to your observations page the same as if you clicked on “Your Observations” across the top bar on your screen. From this page, you can edit your observations, add new ones, or search through your observations.

Calendar – From your calendar, you can see all the observations that you made on a certain day. These are shown by blue, clickable dates. When you click on the number, you will go to a page displaying the individual observations as well as the number of taxa you observed, the number of observations, and the number of life list firsts. You can view these observations in the usual three formats: grid, list, and map. By clicking on the map view, you can see where all your observations were made on that day. This is a great tool for checking to make sure that your observations’ locations are correct. By using map view, you can quickly check for outliers and edit observations whose locations are incorrectly placed.

Favorites – By visiting this tab, you can find all the observations you have favorited and revisit them. You can view them in grid, list, or map format.

Lists – Here, you can view and edit all your lists, as well as create new ones. Check out this TTT to learn more about using lists.

Journal – This is an interesting feature which, honestly, I have yet to use myself, however I know that a lot of people find it handy. Under “journal” you can create your own personal blog post and even link observations to it. This is a good way to document particularly exciting encounters or keep a nature journal of all your adventures.

IDs – By visiting this page, you will find a list of all the observations you have contributed identifications to.

Projects – This page shows all the projects you have joined. You can also manage your project invitations here by clicking on the button that says, “Manage your project invitations”.

That’s it! Dashboard may not be iNaturalist’s most glamorous tool, however it provides a lot of opportunities for organizing and expanding your user experience.

TTT Task of the Week

This week, I encourage you to explore your dashboard, get familiar with it, and add information where it’s needed. Please check out the referenced TTT articles for more in-depth guidance on making some of these edits.

As always, thank you for helping us map Vermont’s biodiversity, stay safe, and happy observing!

Anotado en marzo 31, martes 19:21 por emilyanderson2 emilyanderson2 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de marzo de 2020

Don't Forget to Fav Photos for the March Winner!

Cast your votes and be counted! You can 'fav' any observation that you like to vote for the Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. Located to the right of the photographs and just below the location map is a star symbol. Click on this star and you've fav'ed an observation. At the end of each month, we'll see which photo-observation has the most favs and crown them the monthly winner. Check out awesome observations and click the star for those that shine for you. Vote early and often!

Check out who is in the lead and see a list of all of this month's photo-observations.

Anotado en marzo 26, jueves 20:58 por kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de marzo de 2020

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using the Forum

Oh, hello winter. This morning I woke up, looked outside, and thought for a brief, hopeful instance that maybe it was actually January. It only took one glance at the mound of toilet paper rolls in my living room (just kidding, it was actually the New York Times in my inbox) to snap back to present.

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all hanging in there. If there’s one phrase I’ve heard repeated over and over during this past week and a half, it’s “weird times”. That seems to be the best description I or anyone else can come up with to summarize what’s going on. They certainly are unprecedented and are actively reshaping the very fabric of our societies. Understandably, we’re all feeling stressed out and constantly on edge. It’s definitely exhausting, so I hope that you’re all finding healthy ways to take care of yourselves.

With all this chaos, fear, and uncertainty, it’s easy to become glued to the news. I’ll admit that at one-point last week I found myself refreshing my email every 5 minutes to see if there were any updates. Now, obviously, this is unhealthy, and I’ve since tried to substitute obsessively checking for updates with stepping outside, even for just a 10 minute walk up my road. On these walks, I try to remain focused on what’s around me, instead of spinning a story about the world’s events. Intentionally sharpening my focus has allowed me to notice so much more than I might otherwise. So far, two of my coolest sightings were a mink running along a streambank and the mating calls of a Barred Owl pair. These small moments remind me that there is still beauty and wonder in the world. You just need to look for it!

This Week on Tech Tip Tuesday

At this time, social distancing is one of the best tools we have for slowing the virus’s spread and “flattening the curve”. I don't know how everyone else is managing the relative isolation, however my impression is that the lack of human interaction is challenging even for those of us who aren’t extroverts. Thankfully, in this technology-dominant age, there are still plenty of ways to connect.

If you’re looking to connect with other naturalists, then iNaturalist is the place to do it! The way many people connect with others on iNaturalist is either through direct messaging or over a species identification. However, there’s one place in particular that’s great for getting feedback on your questions and ideas, and for joining a conversation between multiple people—the iNaturalist forum.

If you were unaware that this platform existed, or have never used it, now is a great time to check it out. I personally use it to find tips and tricks for using iNaturalist better. Besides tutorials, it’s also a great place to find general information about iNaturalist, report bugs, request new features, and discuss different topics in nature, such as weird animal names.

To get started, go to “Community” in the menu bar across the top of your page and click on “Forum”. Once on the forum, you will see a list of categories. On the left, you will see the category name with a description of the types of conversations hosted there. In the middle, you will see the number of topics posted per week. On the right, you will see the three most recent posts under that category. You can also sort posts by “latest” or “top”. When you see a post that interests you, click on it.

Once you click on a post, you can see the original and all the comments other users added below with their own thoughts. If you scroll to the bottom, you will notice that the forum prompts you to sign up. You can read all the comments without signing up, however in order to use the site more fully, you do need to create an account. You can create a brand-new account, or simply connect using your existing iNaturalist account. To sign up, click the “sign up” button at the bottom of the page and follow their instructions. If you want to use your iNaturalist account, click on the option in the right hand side of the dialogue box.

Once you’ve signed up, many more options will appear and be available. Returning to the bottom of the post, you will now notice that you can bookmark the post, share it, flag it, or reply. To add your own comments or questions, click on the “reply” button and type in the dialogue box. Remember, keep your comments and questions appropriate—community rules apply.

One important thing to know about the forum before continuing is that it operates on trust levels. By interacting with certain aspects of the forum in positive ways, you earn trust levels which allow you to access different features. Trust levels essentially provide a cushion for new users learning how the site operates and provides benefits to established users which help them better support the community. To learn more about how trust levels work, check out this article. Ultimately, you likely won’t notice your trust level affecting your ability to participate too much, especially if you’re just using basic forum features, however knowing that this system is in place is important for understanding how the community operates.

For now, those are the important basics to know for understanding the forum. If you’re interested in learning more, I may cover more advanced forum uses in the future.

TTT Task of the Week

This week, I want you to engage with iNaturalist’s online community through the forum. Visit it and read some posts that interest you. I also encourage you to make an account and contribute to discussions.

That’s all for this week! Thank you for helping us map Vermont’s biodiversity, stay safe, and happy observing!

Anotado en marzo 24, martes 18:40 por emilyanderson2 emilyanderson2 | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario

17 de marzo de 2020

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using iNaturalist as a Teaching Tool

I usually start TTT with a comment about the weather and what’s happening in nature, however doing that today would feel disingenuous. It’s hard to believe how much can change in a short period of time. I know that I’m not alone in feeling uprooted and disoriented after such a tumultuous week or two. As someone who is passionate about the natural world, I’ve found myself turning there for comfort and escape. I also recognize that easy access to nature is a privilege and not available to everyone for a multitude of reasons. Employment, location, and health status, among other factors, can all create barriers to extended outdoor recreation, especially under current conditions. Keeping this in mind, I still urge you to spend time in nature whenever it is safe and feasible to do so. And if you can’t, open a window, breathe in the fresh air, and listen to birdsong, or listen to birdsong through your smartphone or other listening device. You may find that this too brings you a brief spell of ease.

My final comments before we dive in are not nature related. In this time of social distancing, the prospect of spending extended periods in relative isolation feels scary. In these moments, we need community more than ever. Make sure that you’re still reaching out to the people in your lives who you care about. Also, reach out to people you don’t know and who may be struggling right now through acts of kindness committed from a safe distance. Despite needing to stay at least six feet away, we still need to be there for each other. Regardless of our individual situations, most of us are feeling lonely and afraid, making connection essential.

This Week on Tech Tip Tuesday

As I’m sure all of you are acutely aware (or experiencing directly), all Vermont public schools (as well public schools in many other states) either are closed or will be closing tomorrow until April 6th. I can’t even begin to imagine the difficulties this will place on parents and families across Vermont (and beyond). I want to acknowledge that for many, school is more than an education: it’s food, childcare, and a social network, among many other things.

Tech Tip Tuesday can barely even scratch this surface, however what it can provide is directions to guide you in using iNaturalist to keep the children in your lives engaged in nature education. One great aspect of iNaturalist is that you don’t need to be an expert to teach children about nature. Between its A.I. and suggestions from others, you can identify the life around your home or along your favorite trail with relative ease. You can also learn more about the species you uncover on the taxa info pages.

Since some schools are trying to hold classes online, iNaturalist also makes a great tool for remote learning. If students are of an age where they can register for iNaturalist without parental permission, teachers can potentially have them use iNaturalist to collect information around their homes or neighborhoods and share them to a class project page. The possibilities of how to use iNaturalist as an educational tool are plentiful! To learn more about how to use iNaturalist as an educational tool, check out the iNaturalist teacher’s guide and this thread on the iNaturalist forum.

However, there are a couple of things to consider before taking off. First, it’s important that you as the educator understand how to use the app. iNaturalist recommends having at least 20-30 observations uploaded before using it for a class. Second, only people 13 years or older can create an iNaturalist account. In order to use the app with younger children, either you must be the one using it, or you should use Seek, a similar app designed by iNaturalist for younger children. Third, another point that’s been raised by some in the iNaturalist community is that iNaturalist will teach you what something is but won’t necessarily teach you what its identifying features are. If you want the young people you’re teaching to take a deeper dive into identification, you can check out the Vermont Atlas of Life website for a great list of identification resources.

Of course, there is more to consider than these three things and I once again highly recommend checking out the teacher guide, even parents. While you may not be a formal teacher, the guide will still help you understand how best to use iNaturalist to engage your children.

If you’re an educator, parent, or other individual looking to educate the children in your care about nature and have any questions about using iNaturalist, please email me at eanderson@vtecostudies.org or message me on iNaturalist.

TTT Task of the Week

If you know any educators, parents, or other individuals looking for a way to keep their children engaged in learning either in-person or remotely, please share iNaturalist’s teacher guide with them. If you can, please get outside. Explore, take a break from the news, and photograph as many species as you can find.

As always, thank you for helping us map Vermont’s biodiversity, stay safe, and happy observing!

Anotado en marzo 17, martes 19:27 por emilyanderson2 emilyanderson2 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de marzo de 2020

New Vermont Atlas of Life Swag!

The VAL team worked with artist (and iNaturalist!) Katama Murray to create this eye-catching design to raise awareness and some funds for the Vermont Atlas of Life. Katama created each drawing using an archival pen, and then transformed them digitally to make the entire composition into the shape of the wonderful state of Vermont.

You and your friends and family will look snazzy, support citizen science, and help spread the word for biodiversity conservation with these unique shirts. Check out our nice selection of styles, colors, and sizes at https://www.bonfire.com/vermont-atlas-of-life

Can You Identify all the Species?

We chose 39 species to include in the graphic. Some are favorites, some iconic, others have neat conservation stories. How many can you identify? View a large image and when you've written down all your answers, visit the key to see how you did. No cheating!

About the Artist

Katama Murray is an eco artist, aspiring educator, and naturalist. Originally from the coast of Downeast Maine, her work is inspired by the earth’s natural rhythm and humanity’s interconnectedness to the environment. Living and studying throughout various parts of New England, she has always been influenced by the outdoors and the way in which we interact with it. With her BFA in Printmaking and Art History from Plymouth State University, she strives to learn and teach together with people of all ages, hoping to inspire others to become more connected to our only planet. Her work explores the combination of multiple printmaking and textile techniques that utilize natural materials and a sustainable mindset. In 2020 she will continue her graduate studies at Indiana University Bloomington, focusing on her MFA in Printmaking. To learn more about her work please visit: www.katamamurrayart.com

Anotado en marzo 11, miércoles 19:30 por kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de marzo de 2020

Tech Tip Tuesday: All About Checklists

Spring is in the air. Literally, in some ways. I took a walk up the road yesterday while enjoying the gorgeous weather and was surprised to find my eyes briefly assaulted by some small, flying insects. While that may be more spring than I’m ready for at the moment, I am enjoying the warm sun, renewed vigor of woodpeckers in the nearby forests, and the early shoots of flowering plants beginning to emerge in my garden. At this point, it’s hard to know what March may still have in store for us, however I will take this break from winter’s icy grip while it lasts.

This Week on Tech Tip Tuesday

Many citizen science apps exist nowadays covering a wide range of project styles and topics. When it comes to naturalist apps it can be hard to know exactly which one to use in each situation. While I usually take this space to explain a handy feature of iNaturalist, today I’m going to explain why it might be best to record your bird and butterfly data on eBird and e-Butterfly.

The main difference between these two projects lies in how they record data. eBird and e-Butterfly both use checklists to record information about species, while iNaturalist uses one-at-a-time observations. While observations are incredibly useful for noting when a species is present in an area, they fail to provide clarity about species’ absences or their relative abundance. From iNaturalist presence-only observations, you can build models of a species’ range and then track expansions and contractions, but without individual counts you can’t track population declines.

It’s in these cases that checklists shine. Unlike one-off observations, complete checklists report what wasn’t found too. For a complete checklist, every species you could identify to the best of your ability, by sight and/or sound, is reported. As long as you aren’t intentionally leaving any species off your list, you’re submitting a complete checklist.

Checklisting also collects important information on effort. When you begin a checklist for eBird using the smartphone app , it tracks the distance you travel and your time birding. It also keeps track of whether you see a species and how many individuals you count. Using this information, eBird estimates the amount of effort expended while birding, providing context for the number of species you recorded. The more effort that goes into your search (based on time, distance, and number of people), the more likely it is that you’ve observed all species present in that area. If a species isn’t detected and the completed checklist indicates relatively high effort, it’s likely that the species was truly absent.

While this system may seem a little complicated, scientists can actually use it to produce fairly detailed models displaying bird (or butterfly) presence and absence. On eBird, for example, they use this data to create maps showing species’ migration and population trends. Ultimately, this data will be highly useful as scientists continue to unravel how climate change, land use, and other human activities impact birds around the world. Checkout this article to learn more about how completed checklists are used.

I encourage you to use eBird and e-Butterfly for recording bird and butterfly observations. This is not to discourage you from using iNaturalist, since it does contribute valuable data on species’ distributions. However, it’s important to understand the differences between these tools and what they offer, and learn to use them both. So, if you decide to go out birding or butterflying, I encourage you to keep a checklist as you go and upload any neat observations into iNaturalist later.

TTT Task of the Week

This week I want you to explore Vermont eBird’s science section. Check out all of their maps to get a sense for what these differences can do. To learn more about these maps, check out this article on Vermont eBird. Next time you go out birding or butterfly hunting, I want you to give eBird or e-Butterfly a try. And keep using iNaturalist too! You can upload any photos you take while out checklisting.

Thank you for helping us map Vermont’s biodiversity and happy observing!

Anotado en marzo 10, martes 23:10 por emilyanderson2 emilyanderson2 | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de marzo de 2020

Tech Tip Tuesday: Adding Sounds

Happy March everyone! I couldn’t believe the warm air when I stepped outside this morning. Between that, the vibrant birdsong all around my house, and the light sky, it really feels like spring is almost here. This past weekend I saw three skunks within less than a mile’s drive, waddling along the side of a backroad. This is a sure sign that breeding season is beginning! If you want to learn more about the flora and fauna you can expect to see this month, check out the Vermont Center for Ecostudies’ Field Guide to March.

I’m also happy to announce that the TTT archive is now live on the VAL website. By providing direct links on our website, we hope that you can more easily access older articles. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with your ideas for topics or other suggestions for how to improve TTT.

This Week on Tech Tip Tuesday

Before long, the sounds of spring will flood our ears - birds singing, frogs croaking, and the whine of cars struggling through the deep mud that plagues many a Vermont backroad. That is why today, I’m going to talk about uploading sounds to iNaturalist.

Uploading sounds is a highly useful, yet underutilized feature of the app. For animals like birds and frogs, we may often hear them before we see them. In fact, sometimes we may never see them. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to claim their own patch of iNaturalist turf. Many species are identifiable by the noise they make. These observations often provide just as much information as a photo. In many cases, uploading a sound can result in a quality, research grade observation. Want to know what these sound observations are like? Here’s a great example.

Recording and uploading a sound is almost as easy as uploading a visual observation. Unfortunately for iPhone users, you cannot record and upload sounds directly from the iNaturalist app. However, you can either use your iPhone’s pre-downloaded recording app or select one yourself from the Apple Store. Once you have finished recording a sound on your chosen app, you need to transfer the sound file to your computer. After the sound file is on your computer, hit upload, select your file, and fill out the observation’s information as usual.

Like with many other iNaturalist features, Android users have a much easier time. When you want to record a sound, begin your usual iNaturalist upload process. Click on “record sound” (or choose sound if you already have one saved). Selecting this option will either automatically take you to your phone’s recording app, or in some cases it will allow you to record the sound directly through iNaturalist (my phone does). Once you hit stop on your recording, you will get the option to use your sound to create an observation and should proceed as usual.

I realize that I didn’t provide many steps to this, however that’s because the process is essentially the same as creating an observation from a photo. The only significant difference is using a sound recording app instead of your phone’s camera.

If you need more guidance, iNaturalist does provide some instruction on how to upload sounds on their Help page. However, be warned: some of this information is a bit out of date. Despite what they say, it is possible to upload sounds from your android mobile device.

TTT Task of the Week

This week I want you all to go out and experiment with recording wildlife and uploading their sounds to iNaturalist. Birds are a great place to start. Take some time to play around with the process and figure out what makes sense and what is still confusing. As always, I’m happy to answer questions if something doesn’t make sense. Stay tuned, as we may revisit this topic again in the coming weeks.

That’s all for this week. Thank you for helping us map Vermont’s biodiversity and happy observing!

Anotado en marzo 03, martes 16:08 por emilyanderson2 emilyanderson2 | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario