Project Noah and the future of naturalists

What has the power to stop a careening, kinetic child in his tracks and cause him to gently bend, enraptured, toward a flower? As PopTech Science Fellow and naturalist Yasser Ansari witnessed first-hand, it’s a bee. As children, we all possess a wonderment and curiosity about nature. We have a human need to connect with our planet. Or, as said child put it, “BZZZZ!” 

Yasser Ansari

Ansari’s effort, Project Noah (Networked Organisms and Habitats), strives to be what he calls “a field guide for every organism.” Inspired by Darwin’s Field Guide, bio-instruments, and a little bit of steam punk, the platform encourages citizen scientists to step into the world, eyes open, and begin documenting what they find.

Networked organisms iPhone app

Using a simple iPhone application, users can photograph, tag, identify and/or learn more about the animals and plants they see around them. The website allows people to compare notes, track sighting and most importantly, join missions to provide key data to researchers on topics like invasive species and migration patterns. Users can earn badges as they add to their findings, bringing a game element into the experience

Engaging average citizens with the natural world and providing easy tools to record collective data literally “places the future of our planet in our hands.”

See Ansari speak about Project Noah at the PopTech Living Systems Salon in DC earlier this year or check out what Project Noah users have spotted in the wild.

(Top photo: Kris Krüg)

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