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An Illinois River Almanac

Jason Haupt's Energy and Environment Blog

Technology and Nature

As I think about the seasons changing and moving through fall and winter, I like to think about the many processes that are in nature. As I look at nature, I am amazed at the renewal that the change in seasons brings.

One thing that I think is often overlooked when we look to nature is the role that technology can play in our study and understanding of nature. Recently I have been thinking about all the technology that can be used to further the understanding that we have of nature and the natural areas that are all around us. iNaturalist is an app that is available for both Android and Apple products and is also available online. This international citizen scientist effort provides the opportunity for groups and individuals to record their observations of nature. I have started a project to record the biodiversity within Fulton County. Chautauqua National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is using this app to record the biodiversity within the refuge, and Jacob Randa is working to identify all of the species that are found in the refuge.

Technology is also useful in identifying the many species that you find in nature. Digital field guides are available for purchase and download onto both Android and Apple products. If you are a fan of the Audubon field guides, in April many of the apps are bundled and put on super sale to celebrate the birthday of J.J. Audubon. Many of the field guides are available in a digital format and the Audubon app allows you to record your sightings, as well. They also have recordings of the bird calls in the bird guides.

Technology is not the answer to your questions in nature, but it can be a useful tool. Use technology in both education programs you might be working on and to help you identify some of the species that you will encounter out there. So as the weather becomes less hospitable and you are spending more time inside, take some time to try some of the apps that are available.

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