Journal 4: Final Journal

Over the last two months, I participated in the Citizen Science Program. This involved me taking photos of plants and trying to complete a couple of Ecoquest challenges. The Ecoquest challenges were posted by New York Botanical Garden and had a species of plant we were supposed to find. On the iNaturalist app I was able to see different plants that people posted about in my neighborhood.

This was a very enjoyable experience. I have lived in Manhattan for a majority of my life, and never really paid attention to all of the beautiful greenery and animals that exist in Manhattan. I also really enjoyed the scavenger hunt aspect because it made it very exciting. Instead of just taking pictures of different trees, flowers, and animals near my house I ventured to different parks, and green spaces. I allowed myself to wander to new areas of Central Park and Riverside Park, and I also visited a new park right off of York Avenue! Even though I have walked through Riverside and Central Park countless times, I was shocked to see how many different species existed within a small radius of my house.

One thing I would have changed about the Ecoquest, is for it to give a description of places they can normally be found. While it was fun to explore, it was a little overwhelming to not have any guidance as to where the plant could be found. I also think it could have been really fun if the app was more like a social media app, and had a main feed so we could browse through people’s observations.

I think that the Ecoquest challenges taught me how to pay attention to detail. Specifically, when I was searching for the Common Mugwort, I stumbled upon many plants that looked like it, but I was able to identify it by the shape of the leaves. Additionally, I photographed a plant in the middle of October and then again in November thinking they were different plants, however they were the same. I would have known if I looked at the actual plant and leaf structure.

An interesting anecdote from my experience, is that I misidentified one of the plants I found, the begonias as Busy Lizzy, and someone from the iNaturalist community was able to correctly identify the plant. This encouraged me to, again, pay close attention to characteristics of the plant.

Overall, I think that the Ecoquest challenges were very rewarding, and also the ability to have access to various different types of wildlife around me in the iNaturalist app is amazing. I would definitely participate in the challenge again. I loved exploring Manhattan and gained a true appreciation for all of the nature around me. I also think that this app made me more curious about other living things in my area. For example, I saw an owl in Riverside park!! This was a very cool experience and there were many people standing around with binoculars and taking photos. I have realized since downloading the app that many people, myself included, do not acknowledge all of the natural beauty that a large city can have, and this app can help change that.

Publicado por mt3263 mt3263, 01 de diciembre de 2020

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