for biodiversity documentation



step 1 -- how do I get started?

  • Download iNaturalist: Explore, Learn, Record

step 2 -- finding and recognizing grasslands to visit and document

  • Under the Projects page, below, enter "Southeastern Grasslands Initiative" into the search menu and then click "Go"
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  • The Southeastern Grasslands Initiative Project is an umbrella project that includes dozens of smaller projects. These appear under the Leaderboard, which allows you to compare various types of grasslands. Scroll down the page until you see the Map of Observations.
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  • We have created dozens of SGI projects, each of which focuses on a particular type of unique grassland ecosystem within a particular ecoregion. We are in the process of creating many more. In the top left corner of the map, use the + symbol to zoom in on the southeastern U.S. to find a grassland system near you. Zoom in and see if there are mapped grasslands near you.

If you don't see a project in your area, don't let that stop you. Contact us and we will help you find local grasslands in your area that you can help to document or simply go exploring for them on your own. On our main website, click on "Galleries"in the dropdown menu to see examples of the best remaining grasslands in the southeastern U.S. to see examples of what you might expect. But keep in mind many grassland remnants are tiny and may not look like these high quality examples.

step 3 -- ok i found a grassland, now what?

  • Once you've successfully found a grassland, then you are ready to begin documenting the site's biodiversity. Be sure your phone, iPad, or camera is fully charged and prepare to have fun! Watch the video below from iNaturalist for a quick tutorial.

  • As you make observations, your observations are immediately recorded in iNaturalist and are available to the scientific community. If recording observations on private property please be sure to receive landowner permission before doing so. For rare, threatened, or endangered species or species that are frequently poached for the medicinal (e.g. ginseng) or horticultural (e.g. orchids, lilies) trade, then please be sure and adjust the privacy settings so that the exact location is not available to the mass public.
  • Once your records are included, they then appear as small pin icons on the Observation map (below). Each record is clickable.
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For example, if you click on the name or photo of Fly Poison on the right side of the above image, then the profile page for that species comes up. You can click on the map and zoom in and out to see all of the observations for this species throughout its range. Scroll down and you will see a place where others can comment on your record. For example, if you photographed and didn't know what to call it, then likely someone from the scientific community will be able to provide an answer or at least point you in the right direction.