Seek app by iNaturalist

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If your children are anything like ours, then they can’t get enough of the outdoors. Not just playing either. They dig in everything, puddle jump, climb trees, jump off dangerous stuff, and they find lots of cool things along the way. Toads, bugs, birds, fish, fungi, flowers, you name it. Then they promptly say, “dad what is that?” Or “is that poisonous?” of which I would respond, “I don’t know” and I don’t like not knowing. That quickly changed when we found the seek nature app by iNaturalist. Now when they ask, I say “let’s check”. All while earning badges from finding different species and participating in challenges.

Out of a score of 10, I give seek a 9.

What Is The Seek App By iNaturalist?

The website it says;

“Drawing from millions of wildlife observations on iNaturalist, Seek shows you lists of commonly recorded insects, birds, plants, amphibians, and more in your area. Scan the environment with the Seek Camera to identify organisms using the tree of life. Add different species to your observations and learn all about them in the process! The more observations you make, the more badges you’ll earn!”

iNaturalist is a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.

In short: It’s an app that uses your camera (and super cool, image recognition technology) to identify the plants and animals all around you.



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One of my favorite discoveries. The Homo Sapien (Elijah).
Sunburst Anemone found in the tide pools of San Diego

Open, Scan, Learn, Log, & Explore More!

Here’s what I like.

There is so much to love about this app. The biggest for me as a dad is safety. I can quickly scan and make sure we’re not dealing with anything from poison ivy to a venomous critter. I can also see what’s around me before we go out. Which helps with safety and I can identify before anyone else and look smart. Always happy to look smart in front of my wife and kids.

In all seriousness though, the app is cool and I find myself scanning almost everything. I want to know what it is but I also want to have a crazy cool collection to share and look back on from time to time. We have learned a lot from the app. From where prickly fruit comes from all the way to learning about prairie dogs. It saved us from poison ivy and “saved” me from a jumping spider once (for another time).

In short: It’s fun and informative.

If I was to give one piece of critique, it would be to upgrade the camera to be able to zoom in and out. It’s difficult sometimes to identify something that’s hard to get close to like birds.



Pro tip: Because of the lack of zoom in the app, I figured out if you zoom in and take a picture with your regular camera you can then open the pic up in the app to identify it.

Getting Started Is Easy


“No registration is involved, and no user data is collected.

Seek will ask permission to turn on location services, but your location is obscured to respect your privacy while still allowing species suggestions from your general area. Your precise location is never stored in the app or sent to iNaturalist.

Our image recognition technology is based on observations submitted to and partner sites, and identified by the iNaturalist community.”

Bonus: What’s happening behind the scenes?

“Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.”

We hear a lot about data. It’s bought, sold, stolen and invading. However, this data is used to help our world. In some small or maybe even big way, we are helping care for our Mother Earth.

In short: It’s fun, informative and kind of makes you a scientist.

The seek nature app can be found on both the Google Play store and the Apple App store.