how to explore


see it.

Go outside and find plants and animals to observe. You can do this anywhere (including your own neighborhood). HotSpots are places chosen for ecoEXPLORERS to find wildlife. You can learn more about how to find and identify wildlife at Field Programs.


snap it.

Take photographs of what you find. Record where and when you find it, so scientist can learn from your discoveries. You can earn equipment to help, available at GetSpots. You can also borrow larger items like trail cameras and spotting scopes from LoanSpots.


share it.

Email your photo to You'll earn points you can use to get Field Tools from GetSpots. You will also be working on earning Field Badges by making Shares as well as by attending special ecoEXPLORER-only programs at ecoEXPLORE Events.


Earn up to Five Points For Each Share

Earn One Point: Send a photograph with your username and when you observed in the subject line. Add the location and what species you observed in the body of the email. You can send images of any wildlife anywhere you find it.

Earn a bonus point for each of the following:

  • Share an organism in the current field season. Our current field season is Entomology, so you get a bonus point for observing reptiles and amphibians.
  • See It at a HotSpot.
  • Provide the correct identification of the species. 
  • Include a high-quality photograph that scientists can use. If you can't tell what the species is, it's not a high-quality photograph.

When you EXPLORE, you help scientists study wildlife.

High-quality observations are added to the ecoEXPLORE project on iNaturalist, an online network of scientists and naturalists. We'll let you know if your observations were added to iNaturalist, and you can keep an eye on your observations to see if scientists confirm or add an identification to your observation.

ecoEXPLORERS Contribute real scientific data to real scientists!

See what ecoEXPLORERS are discovering on iNaturalist, world-wide online community of scientists and naturalists. Visit the ecoEXPLORE Project on