Nov. 13 MDC program to focus on iNaturalist app

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JOPLIN, Mo. – The iNaturalist app is a great example of a tool citizens can use to increase their nature knowledge and, at the same time, play a role in today’s conservation research.

If you’re interested in learning more about this app that’s becoming popular with many outdoors enthusiasts, be sure to sign up for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) program “Discover Nature: Explore iNaturalist.” This free program, which will be Nov. 13 from 10:30-noon, will be at MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center in Joplin. The address is 201 W. Riviera Drive. This program is open to ages 12 and up. People can register at:

At this program, MDC Naturalist Jessie Ballard will explain how the iNaturalist app can help people identify plants and animals and it can connect them with over a million scientists and naturalists who can help them learn more about the outdoors. But the citizen participation through this app is symbiotic: By recording and sharing their data, iNaturalist subscribers also broaden the data bases for biologists and researchers working in a variety of natural resource fields.

The Nov. 13 program will also include a short hike on the trails at the Shoal Creek Center that will allow program participants to see the iNaturalist app in action and to learn how it can be used on hikes and nature walks. People should wear clothing appropriate for the weather and for taking a walk on the trails. COVID-19 precautions will be in place, which means masking and social distancing will be recommended for all participants.

Though the Nov. 13 program is free, registration is required to participate using the link above. Registrants should note that they now have the option to link their children’s accounts to their own, which will streamline the program registration process. Once a group account is set up, parents will be able to register their children for an event without having to log-off or log-in for each person. This allows parents to register an entire family or select family members for an event at the same time.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual and in-person programs. A listing of these programs can be found at