Play Outside

T.E. ZeriBy T.E. Zeri      July 10, 2020

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Play Outside

Nature Apps To Explore Outside During Quarantine

Topanga is inconveniently convenient. Even during a really inconvenient time, it is conveniently cocooned by nature. How convenient? Don’t ask. To lessen the vicissitudes of the times, it is important to remain connected. Here is to re-appropriating “staying connected.” Since Topanga is that rare place, where there is plenty of opportunity to explore the nature around you, I have taken a quick look at the Nature apps for smartphones. In the words of Emerson, “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” So, go out, and stay connected in nature with these fun apps.

With so much to explore and actually time to do it!

iNaturalist—Need to identify a plant? Take a picture of a it and post it on the app. The app’s community, which has more than 400,000 scientists and naturalists, will help you identify it! The app also has a group feature which are centered on specific species or locations, with plenty of aficionados. Audubon Birds of North America—Audubon Birds of North America features images, descriptions, sounds, and habitat locations of 808 species. It includes a social network of birdwatchers, sharing sightings, photos, maps, and other information to track down the species you are looking for. The app also features Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s eBird database. MyNature Animal Tracks—This app helps you identify animals’ tracks using a combination of paw print images, information about their droppings, and example sounds. The app’s database, in the context of your location, helps you narrow your search. PlantNet Plant Identification—The app is a collaborative piece from four French research organizations (CIRAD, INRA, INRIA, and IRD). It features thousands of plant records in its database. If you take a snapshot of a plant leaf, the app will search its vast database for a match. Smart Tools—The Smart Tools app offers many utilities for the outdoors including, a compass, a ruler, a sound meter, a metal detector, and a magnifying glass. This app does not require a data connection to function. National Parks— This app offers details on more than 400 locations, including all 60 national parks. Each park comes with a map and information about its history and key features. Wild Time—A Child friendly app, which encourages their interactions with wildlife and nature. The app explores ways to get kids outside by giving them nature-themed tasks. Example tasks include building a wild den, identifying three birds in your back garden, and finding something natural to match every color of the rainbow. Nature’s Notebook—Nature’s Notebook lets you record the wildlife and plant life that you see. You can use it to track bird migrations, log plant flowerings, to name a few. The app is operated by the USA National Phenology Network. It uses the data you enter in tandem with records from professional scientists to create one of the largest citizen science projects in the world. TrailLink—This app provides detailed trail descriptions, reviews, photos, and maps of the best trails near you. SkySafari—The SkySafari astronomy app, lets you hold your phone to the sky to identify planets, constellations, stars, and satellites. You can also use the app to see what the sky might have looked like thousands of years ago, or what it will look like in the future. SkyView—SkyView Free offers more features in the unpaid version than most of its competitors. You can tap on sky objects to get detailed descriptions and follow the projected path of an object in the sky. Yonder—A social media platform of sorts, you can follow other users, like and comment on their adventures, and, of course, post your own. Search more than 20,000 destinations and save your favorites! What’s Invasive—This app displays lists of the most invasive species in your area, including photos and short descriptions. If you happen to come across one, select the name of the species you spotted, and your GPS location will be sent to experts who can help. This app is great for nature activist who want to maintain “eharmony.” Butterfly Collections—This app has 240 species of butterflies and moths in its database. Learn species names and see which species live near you!
T.E. Zeri

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