iNaturalist Powers Community Science

Combining the value of community science with species identification, iNaturalist gives people the ability to connect with their local environment and identify the flora and fauna they observe.

Sphinx moth captured and submitted as part iNaturalist project
A Blinded Sphinx found in PA for The Nature Conservancy Project.

Looking for a way to connect with nature in the Pennsylvania Highlands? Through iNaturalist, one of the most popular nature apps,  you and your family participate in valuable community science or simply learn more about the plant and animal species in your region. This app allows scientists, students, adults and naturalists to connect and create a database with thousands of documented species. It can help you identify certain animals or plants you have never seen before, while simultaneously creating research-quality data for scientific projects. This data will help conserve and protect nature!

There are so many benefits to community science projects facilitated through iNaturalist. These projects bring the power of community and technology together to collect data on the natural world and make it available to the scientific community. In turn, the data is carefully analyzed and informs important conservation decisions. iNaturalist community science projects get people involved in their local environment, which can lead to more knowledgeable and concerned people that advocate for change. Additionally, community science is a very cost-effective method to collect a variety of data points across large regions and time periods. The data submitted is verified by scientists, yet the local community can help save valuable time and money by assisting with the research. The more people that participate, the more we all learn, and the more science leads conservation efforts.

Start making a difference with iNaturalist.

Choose 1 or more projects in the Pennsylvania Highlands, and become a community scientist!

Flowers and Fauna along the Appalachian Trail Corridor · iNaturalist

Spotted Lanternflies on tree in Berks County, PA Highlands
Spotted Lanternflies along the Horse-Shoe Trail.

Help the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) monitor the plants and animals along the Appalachian Trail (AT). This project covers an expanded corridor area around the trail, so even if you do not get out hiking on the AT as often as you’d like, it is still possible to contribute. Check the project site for an interactive map of the project area and make your plans to track flowers and more on your next outing.

Spotted Lanternflies · iNaturalist

iNaturalist is also an excellent way to help people identify invasive species in their region. Spotted Lantern Flies are currently wreaking havoc on the ecosystems in the Pennsylvania Highlands region. You can visit this project here, and get help identifying these invasive bugs to try and kill them when you see them.

Birds of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA · iNaturalist

Discover and track avian species in Lancaster County. Take photos of birds in the area and upload them to contribute. All species are welcome, from the smallest of Chickadees to the largest of Herons. Whether you are out for a walk or in your community, hiking a trail, recreating in a public park, or enjoying your backyard, you can contribute to this project.

Hopewell Furnace and French Creek Wildlife · iNaturalist

Document your wildlife encounters while at this National Historic Site.

American robin, a bird commonly observed by community scientists.
The American Robin, one of the most common birds observed in Franklin County.

Flora of the Lower Susquehanna · iNaturalist

The Lower Susquehanna area has a myriad of beautiful plant species, and you can learn more by participating in this project. There are over 45,000 observations for this project. Additionally, almost 2,000 people can help identify the type of flora you upload. This is a great way to widen your plant knowledge.

The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania & Delaware · iNaturalist

Contribute to this project at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Preserves in Pennsylvania and Delaware. TNC will use submitted plant and animal observations to advance conservation.

Birds of Franklin County, Pennsylvania · iNaturalist

Discover and track avian species in Franklin County.


To learn more about iNaturalist, visit


Updated – February 19th, 2021.
Written by Emma Coppock, Conservation Policy Intern – September 15th, 2020.

The Pennsylvania Highlands features quality drinking water, productive farms and forests, as well as rural community character. Additionally, the network of trails and conserved land in the region provides outstanding opportunities to spend time outdoors. To learn more, visit