Mission Trails Regional Park Biodiversity's Journal

November 20, 2023

Taking iNaturalist to the Next Level at MTRP--Panel Discussion Thursday November 30

Want to delve deeper into iNaturalist? Patricia Simpson, Mark James, and Millie Basden will be giving a presentation at the MTRP Visitor Center on Thursday, November 30, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. Proceeds benefit the MTRP Foundation.

Hope to see you there!

Posted on November 20, 2023 11:56 PM by milliebasden milliebasden | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 04, 2022

Help ID "unknown" observations in San Diego County

Are you bored? no photos to post? your iNat notification queue is empty?
Fear not, there always something you can do!
San Diego County has a lot of "unknown" observations and the number is going up. This happens when someone adds an observation without an identification (usually a new user or the occasional mis-hap).

How can you help?

-Click on the "Explore tab"
-Enter "San Diego County" in the location field
-Click on filters and in the "Categories", select the bottom right symbol. It looks like a dotted leaf with a question mark in the center. Finish by clicking "Update Search".

Congratulations! You are now looking at nearly 2,000 unknown observations from San Diego County. Click on the observations and add an ID. For any organism, you don't need to spend an enormous amount of time trying to figure out what it is. Just enter a broad ID such as Vascular Plants or Fungus, including Lichens or Winged and Once-winged Insects. Of course if you can refine the ID, please do so!
This simple action will get the observation out of "unknown" status and a future identifier who focuses on plants or insects will be able to see that observation in their search.

You may run into photos of pets or house/yard plants. That's ok. Just enter an ID (refined or broad) and make sure you scroll down and under "organism is wild", select the box for "no". This will kick the observation into a "casual" grade, which scientists can disregard for their research projects. For certain animal like dogs, cats, cows, the observation might automatically go into "casual" grade. In this case, you don't have to worry about selecting the the "organism is wild" box.

You may run into photos that are so blurry you can't tell at all what it is, or a photo of a road or an object or a kid making funny faces. For these simply enter "human" and the observation will automatically be assigned a "casual" grade. Think of it as human error :)
Here is a good example of someone using iNat as a Nextdoor platform to ask what this construction is all about: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/110463132

You may run into observations that are simply "State of matter Life". These are observations that might not be able to be IDed based on current photos. This happens when the observer has applied an ID such as "bees", but an identifier missed the bee and IDed the plant it was on instead. The only thing in common between these two is "Life". This also happens a lot with plant diseases because it can be hard to determine if ailments are due to a fungal infection, a viral infection or or even a pest affliction. In this case, just leave the observation as is, unless you have the answer as to what it is that's causing the damage.

You may run into someone who has several photos, but they are of different organisms. In this case, add a comment to the observation such as :

--Great photos, but we can't ID them until they are separated. One species per observation. Here is how to fix it: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-to-fix-your-observation-with-photos-of-multiple-species/15096
Hopefully the person will fix the observation(s).

I usually don't spend a lot of time doing this, just 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there. But if many of us do this, we can clean up the San Diego data set :) ... and in the process I'm sure you'll run into observations made at MTRP! In fact here is a list for the park:

Posted on June 04, 2022 10:44 PM by patsimpson2000 patsimpson2000 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 25, 2022

Field Class June 11 with Jon Rebman

Now's your chance to learn firsthand how to make the best plant observations on iNaturalist and to have your questions answered by one of San Diego County's local botanical experts! Join San Diego Natural History Museum Curator of Botany and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Jon Rebman on Saturday, June 11, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Mission Trails Regional Park for a class on perfecting your iNaturalist plant observations. Jon will share tips and tricks for how to make plant observations that are valuable to science beginning with a lecture at 9 a.m. in the Visitor Center classrooms. Following the classroom presentation, participants will divide into groups to spend time in the field in MTRP practicing their skills.

This training is geared towards participants who have experience with iNaturalist, are interested in learning more about the plants and botanical diversity in San Diego County, as well as identification resources. There is no charge for the class but seating is limited. To register, send an email with the name of the registrant to iNatPlants@yahoo.com. Registrations will be accepted until all seats are filled. You will receive a confirmation reply.

This presentation is brought to you by the San Diego Natural History Museum with funding from the National Geographic Society.

Posted on May 25, 2022 03:06 AM by patsimpson2000 patsimpson2000 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 11, 2022

Congratulations to Patricia Simpson!

The creator of the Mission Trails Regional Park Biodiversity Project on iNat, Patricia Simpson, was the winner of the City Nature Challenge 2022: San Diego County! And she didn't just squeak by, she had the most observations and the most species by wide margins. The observation period of the 2022 CNC started at midnight on April 29. By 12:01 a.m., Patricia already had made 2 observations--of moths! Her pace did not slow. After a full day, Patricia photographed her last observation of the day, another moth, at 11:58 p.m. Throughout the CNC period, Patricia was out documenting nature all day and part of the nights, ending up with 1,084 observations of 559 species. Her last observation during the CNC was of a California Poppy in Mission Trails Regional Park. Well done, @patsimpson2000 !

Posted on May 11, 2022 03:57 PM by milliebasden milliebasden | 10 comments | Leave a comment

May 11, 2021

Save the date: May 26th, 7PM

Another chance to hear Dr. James Hung in a great virtual lecture at the San Diego NAT:
Fantastic Bees and How to Save Them
Register here:

Posted on May 11, 2021 10:00 PM by patsimpson2000 patsimpson2000 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 12, 2021


Dr. King-Lou James Hung will be giving a lecture through Cabrillo National Monument. 6:30pm.
RSVP at this link: https://cnmf.org/events/
And Cabrillo National Monument is bringing the focus on our little friends this year with the POLLINATORPALOOZA, a bioblitz aiming to identify plants and pollinators from March to September 2021!
So come visit the park and start "the hunt" with your cameras! The park will feature one observation every week on its social media platforms. It could be yours!
Bioblitz info here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/2021-pollinatorpalooza-at-cabrillo-national-monument

Posted on April 12, 2021 08:36 PM by patsimpson2000 patsimpson2000 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 22, 2021

April 12, 6:30pm

Dr. King-Lou James Hung will be giving a virtual talk through Cabrillo National Monument:
“Diversity, natural history, and conservation of San Diego’s native bees”
Reserve your spot at this link: https://cnmf.org/events/

Posted on March 22, 2021 05:21 PM by patsimpson2000 patsimpson2000 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 11, 2020

New project alert! Terrestrial Arthropods of San Diego County.

Hi everyone,
If you are interested in our little friends, check out this new project: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/terrestrial-arthropods-of-san-diego-county
TERRESTRIAL ARTHROPODS of San Diego County is an umbrella project that aims to track different groups of insects and arachnids that call San Diego their home. From there, please feel free to visit the other projects to explore all the species that live within the county.
Please join any or all the projects to receive journal update.
If you are interested in helping with the curation of any of these different projects, please send me a private message (@patsimpson2000).

Posted on November 11, 2020 05:09 PM by patsimpson2000 patsimpson2000 | 2 comments | Leave a comment

November 03, 2020

iNat workshop!

Hello all,

If you just started using iNat or have been struggling with it or simply would like a refresher on using it, our own Mission Trails iNatter extraordinaire Millie Basden is giving a lecture on the subject. Thursday Nov 6, at 6pm.

Please register at the link below:


Posted on November 03, 2020 09:39 PM by patsimpson2000 patsimpson2000 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 22, 2020

#InverteFest this weekend!

Hello MTRP-thusiasts!

This weekend is iNat's InverteFest. Check out this project and participate at will:


Stay cool!

Posted on August 22, 2020 05:40 PM by patsimpson2000 patsimpson2000 | 0 comments | Leave a comment