iNaturalist Citizen Scientists

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff, volunteers, and citizens are teaming up to document wildlife on National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries across the country. You can be a part of this great effort too!

iNaturalist is a worldwide community of citizen and professional scientists who work in conjunction with the National Geographic Society and other organizations. The data collected will contribute to records of biodiversity of all organisms on the Service’s public lands.

How to get started:


  1. Download the iNaturalist app to your smartphone and register your account for free. 
  2. Join the USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System and USFWS National Fish Hatchery System projects to more easily tag your observations
  3. Visit a refuge or hatchery and take clear picture(s) of a plant(s) and/or animal(s).
  4. Identify and upload the photos. Even if you are uncertain of the species observed, others using iNaturalist will see your records and provide species identifications back to you.

If you are using a digital camera, observations and associated photos can be uploaded from your computer via the iNaturalist web page, but be sure you can provide GPS coordinates if your camera isn’t GPS enabled.