Getting kids and teens curious about nature through photography can be as simple as handing them a smartphone with the iNaturalist app open.
iNaturalist is a free app that allows users to log observations of plant or animal species using images snapped on a camera phone. The observation and corresponding image is uploaded to the app where the community of fellow iNaturalists can help identify the species, add the species to a guide about local flora and fauna, or even use the observation for scientific surveys. (It’s worth noting here that this app is intended only for people age 13 and older.)
Kids can take photos that clearly show a species and its identifying traits, something that encourages them to learn both about photography and about the species. A bonus is the final image is more than just a pretty shot. It is also a social tool connecting kids to a larger community of citizen ecologists. Kids can photograph species for iNaturalist on their own or as part of a school project.