Illinois Botanists Big Year 2021

Find the most plant species in Illinois in 2021 and rejoice in your victory!

The year 2021 marks the sixth 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: Join the project, add your plant observations to the website or iPhone/Android app, and they’ll automatically count toward the contest when they meet the rules below.


  1. Must be a plant (bryophytes and vascular plants – native and non-native species are accepted)
  2. Observation must be within Illinois
  3. Must be observed between the dates of January 1st, 2021 and December 31st, 2021 (and uploaded by January 15th, 2022)
  4. 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 and identify as best as you can, even if that’s just “plant.”

Winning Categories:

Help others get to research grade by identifying or confirming their observations!


Previous Years: