Find the most plant species in Illinois in 2020 and rejoice in your victory!
The year 2020 marks the fifth annual Illinois Botanists Big Year. Anyone may participate, from professional botanist to plant identification novice, by uploading photographic proof of their plant sightings to an online database: iNaturalist. Through the website or mobile apps, botanical enthusiasts upload photos, a species identification, GPS location, date of sighting, and field notes. Since other iNaturalist users can help with identification, participants need not be plant experts and can learn quite a bit about plants just by snapping photos and engaging with the community.
How to join in the fun: Add your plant observations to the iNaturalist.org website or iPhone/Android app and it’ll automatically count toward the contest if it meets the rules below. Join the conversation on the Illinois Botanists Big Year Facebook group.
- Must be a plant (bryophytes and vascular plants – native and non-native species are accepted)
- Observation must be within Illinois
- Must be observed between the dates of January 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2020 (and uploaded by January 15th, 2021)
- Observation must be “research grade.” That means it must be “wild/naturalized” and that you need a photo, date, location, and at least two people to agree on the species, to confirm the identification accuracy
Nature newbie? No worries – we will help identify any plants you see. Don’t have a smartphone? You can upload photos through the website without need for a smartphone. Just take a photo and upload it to iNaturalist.org and identify as best as you can, even if that’s just “plant.”
- Most Species
- Most Observations
- The Sedgehead (most species within Carex)
- The Grassmaster (most species within Poaceae)
- The Sporophyte (most species outside of flowering plants, Magnoliophyta)
- iNaturalist Getting Started guide
- iNaturalist FAQ page
- Video tutorials: Creating an iNaturalist account and adding an observation
- Illinois Botanists Big Year Facebook group