Life & Culture

Try These Exploration Apps To Connect To Nature

Sep 08, 2020 ByLaura Lee

The iNaturalist app is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. It’s one of the world’s most popular nature apps! INaturalist helps people identify and learn about the plants and animals around them. By recording and sharing observations, you create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. Using iNaturalist makes going outside feel like an adventure. Putting a name to a plant or animal you’ve seen in your backyard but never paid any attention to and is super cool to use! The app enhances your sense of place and community and connects you to your environment. The app may help you learn that lizards on your patio is actually an invasive species. There are so many animals that live just beyond your doorstep, but even more can be found by going on a walk or hike or a road trip. Since everyone is staying indoors, now is the perfect time to get out and observe close to home and safely of course.

Geochasing is basically a real-world, outdoor scavenger hunt! It’s like Pokemon Go but, like, for real! The app allows you to navigate to specific GPS coordinates where little containers, called caches, are hidden. It shows you where all the hidden caches are you in area, and although some are only accessible through a premium feature, many are available for free. There are almost always guaranteed to be a few geocaches near you no matter where you live. Geocaching has been around since the early 2000s and there are over 3 million caches hidden in 191 different countries on all seven continents. Since caches are hidden and purposefully kept out of the public eye, not many people even know it exists. You may have a geocache hidden on your street and not even know it! Geocaching is the perfect way to get outside and spend time not inside binge-watching tv all day! Geocaching allows you to take the adventure to different places and to observe different plants and animals (using the iNaturalist app).