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MDC and iNaturalist connect people with citizen science in Kansas City

Kansas City, Mo. – People are a part of nature, and a citizen science movement that allows people to post observations on digital platforms is increasing understanding of those connections. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center will be offering free programs in May to help people utilize free nature apps and participate in science. The Discovery Center at 4750 Troost Ave. in Kansas City has a large outdoor garden with native plants for participants to study and photograph, and one hike will be at a park location.

Discovery Center will offer a Citizen Science Friday hike with an MDC naturalist from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 14. Participants will learn how to use the iNaturalist and Seek nature identification apps. The apps allow users to submit photographs of subjects for identification. The information is also recorded in a data base that science can use to track plants, animals, and ecological changes. The hike will be on the trail at Rocky Point Glade in Swope Park.

“We will blend technology and our natural habitats to learn how to record encounters with native plants and connect with specialists in the science world,” said Susan Harris, MDC naturalist.

Participants will need to bring their portable digital devices and have the iNaturalist or Seek apps downloaded in advance. They will need to dress for an outdoor hike and weather conditions. This program is open to participants age 18 and older. The instructor will email further directions prior to the event. Registration is required. To register, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZK6.

MDC staff will offer Citizen Science programs from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, at the Discovery Center. Participants will learn how to get started with the iNaturalist and Seek apps. It is recommended that they bring devices such as cell phones and pads to use. This program is for ages 8 and older. To register for the morning session, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZKu. For the afternoon session, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZKL.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed during all programs.

The Discovery Center connects people with nature in the heart of the city. For more information about hours and programs, visit https://mdc.mo.gov/discoverycenter or call 816-759-7300.