Technology connects neighbors with experts
The vision for the conservation community on Markham Hill includes high-quality habitat for people and for wildlife. While wildlife ecologists, botanists, and other experts have been studying the natural areas of Markham Hill, you don’t need to have years of specialized training to contribute to research. In fact, the key may already be in your pocket.
iNaturalist is an app that uses your photos to identify plant, animal, and fungal species, and can save a record of your finding to a shared map. iNat, as it is affectionately called, not only helps users to learn about species, it also connects users in real time with experts. For instance, you may post a photo of a plant and see a note from a botanist asking for more detail because they suspect it’s a rare species. This connection between users and researchers is where the magic happens.
University of Arkansas wildlife ecologist J. D. Willson and his students have recorded many Markham Hill observations within iNaturalist. Taken together with other users’ records, iNaturalist creates a picture of the flora and fauna of the area over time.
Because Markham Hill is so close to the University of Arkansas, it’s a very convenient place for research, especially longitudinal studies. As the neighborhood grows, neighbors can connect with scientists for lifetime learning and discovery. It’s easy to take part: download the iNaturalist app and join the UArk Herpetology Project to share in the fun!