Playful Post – Wildlife Inspired Insults

five-lined skink
You Five-lined Skink (you’re definitely not as cool as this skink)

The common names we have bestowed on some animals do not do them justice. To start – I’m disappointed by how many of our names for animals are iterative. Take the genius additions of lionfish, dogfish, batfish or even catfish —  by the time we were naming fish were we even trying? And then there are the names that can double as clever insults. In fact, @d_tinker and I used to call one another many of the examples I’ve listed below using #wildlifeinsults as the hashtag. And that is actually what inspired this blog post. The names I’ve included below will not only introduce you to awesome new wildlife you should know more about– but it will also expand your insult vocabulary. These names are only to be used for playful and funny reasons. I don’t encourage insulting people with the names of awesome animals in any real capacity– for fear it will make them dislike animals. Instead– perhaps we’re introducing you to your new spirit animal.

Animal Inspired Insults

Five-lined Skink
Hoary Bat
Snot Otter
African Wild Ass
Cockle (bivalve)
Carpet Shark
Bighead Carp
Stinking Corpse Lily
Slimy Salamander
Hairy Beardtongue
Ash-breasted Tit-tyrant
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Snub-nosed Monkey
Evergreen bagworm
Showy Lady’s Slipper
Bony-eared assfish

I’m collecting more…any ideas? I’ll keep adding them. 
Insult people with classy wildlife names and your IQ will soar. 

Tips for Finding Nature (among other things) on Instagram

I think that nature photography is a gateway drug to a healthy wildlife watching addiction. With that hypothesis, I’ve been enjoying how many social media sites I frequent daily are now heavily populated with images (cough… Facebook, Google+, & Tumblr). You can’t go anywhere on those sites without bumping into a few words slapped on to a startling picture.

For this reason, I’ve been keeping my eye on Instagram– mostly because this simple site has seen a growth in users and has a healthy number of compelling wildlife and nature photos. It’s a simple concept- upload your photo, add a filter, and share with your friends. I recently read an article that said 40% of brands were also on Instagram.

Now that they’ve added Photo Maps, I’m intrigued by what this means for documenting experiences using Instagram and how this can enrich your experience when you visit the natural world.

I haven’t created a profile for NWF, mostly because we get a lot of user submitted photos but don’t have a steady supply of the wildlife photos that would be most interesting to people. But I do see great examples of Instagram use, and I continue to be curious about the platform.

Web versions of Instagram that let you search:



  1. Statigram
  2. Pinstagram
  5. instadashapp

Recommended Searches for Wildlife Lovers
(remember to tag photos with appropriate key words!)

  • #Nature -over 800.000 photos
  • #Wildlife – over 176,000 photos
  • #Naturelovers – over 84,000 photos
  • #Wildlifephotography – over 4,000 photos

There are also awesome fun things to search like #skyporn, #macromonday, and many many more! So if you’re tagging photos with hashtags and you aren’t being descriptive– try and remember to be just that.

Are you using Instagram? Let me know!

Identifying Wildlife With Question and Answer Sites

Identifying Wildlife With Question and Answer Sites
Virginia State Parks Asks for ID

I like to share great examples of nonprofits using social media, and I get even more excited when people engage around wildlife.

I saw a great example in wildlife identification from Virgina State Parks on their Facebook page. They asked their friends to help them identify this bird–>

We’ve talked about the benefits of crowdsourcing, but more and more I’m seeing several benefits to asking the community great questions.

In case you haven’t read about Quora, this site has recently received some attention and it works similarly to Yahoo Answers or Aardvark. Since I’ve been curious about the growth of sites like these, I found this chart helpful for comparing the strengths and weaknesses of the Q&A networks. Both nonprofits and nature lovers could use it as a chance to answer and ask questions while building relationships.

And you know I’m all for that!

Who’s testing Quora out now? What do you think?

Fantastic Wildlife and Nature iPhone Apps

*Note:  An updated version of this post can be found on Wildlife Promise called 25+ Nature and Wildlife Mobile Apps.

If you managed to wrestle my iPhone away from me, you would see that I collect nature applications, everything from trail-tracking apps to apps that help me identify birds (my weakness).

My goal is to find different ways for people to interact with nature using a mobile phone. Below I’ve written up a few of my favorites. I’d love to hear what apps you are using.

Watching for  Wildlife

WildObs Collection: I use the apps–especially WildObs Mobile and WildObs Lookup–on a regular basis. If you find yourself wanting to record wildlife sightings that include more than birds– it’s definitely my preferred app!

Project Noah – Great application that also allows you to track your wildlife sightings! Definitely worth a download (it’s free!).

Finding Nature

: Love this! (Disclosure–the National Wildlife Federation partners with both Naturefind and WildObs.) Search nature areas and outdoor events near you.

The North Face Trailhead Application is a great (and FREE) application that lets you locate the trails near you. If you like to hike, or simply want to explore or photograph trails, this application can help you do just that.

iBird Explorer Backyard: As an amateur bird explorer, this is a great app that helps you identify bird species and explore them by family, location and more.

Fun with Plants

Florafolio:  This app offers an interactive field guide to native plants of North America. This edition focuses on the stunning variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, ferns, vines, and grasses that are indigenous to Eastern Canada and North Eastern United States. Florafolio is the perfect guide for anyone who wants to identify species in the wild or garden with native plants.

Botany Buddy: As a person looking to identify plants and exploring, I’ve truly found this app enjoyable. This app is useful when I know the name of what I’m looking for. You must have a profile, and it does require some basic understanding of plants. It  includes 4,500 full color photos and twenty-five key fields of information on each plant.

I know there are countless I left out and I would LOVE to know your favorite nature apps! Share below and maybe I can review them!

Crowdsourcing Wildlife Garden Gold Medal Winners

Recently, my one of my brave colleagues, Kelly Senser, ventured into the social media space despite her incredible workload.  She’s been a superstar ever since, and really provides value and friendship to anyone she meets.  If you don’t follow @klsnature and you love wildlife and gardening, you should.

She recently published an excellent article that reminded me of the importance of crowdsourcing. The article is  “Gardeners Pick their “Gold Medal” Favorites”. While the article was organized by Kelly, it has many authors. This way of collective knowledge is hardly a new concept, but it’s fantastic to see NWF working with sharp minds and talented gardeners to produce such a quality piece.  I’m certain we’ll see more articles like this in the future, but I just want to point out the excellent benefits of crowd-sourcing information.

Each gardener was asked to pick a favorite plant that attracts wildlife to their garden. With each choice is a picture and a quote and includes the gardener’s name and blog! I highly recommend checking out this list. As someone who is still learning the ropes of wildlife gardening, it’s been so helpful to search on Twitter and find the conversation growing. (Heh). We’ve also created a Certified Habitat Wildlife Facebook fan page where I plan on asking all of my spring questions :).
In terms of crowdsourcing, SEED magazine has one of my favorite articles on how science can use data and information collected through crowdsourcing and knowledge “pooling” . It’s fantastic to read about how the scientific community can communicate better with technology and house information  collected in various regions all over the world.

There are a number of other examples of how nonprofits can use crowd-sourcing to learn more about their constituents and create a movement toward social change. Netsquared lets the community decide when it comes to challenge winners and idea submissions.

Crowdsourcing for the sake of a contest or other means to garner a “viral” response does bring up more questions. Beth Kanter recently posted a thought-provoking piece called “Crowdsourcing Social Change: Who Gets to Vote?” where she questions some current crowdsourcing models and introduces a new contest model.
It is my hope that we see more and more crowdsourcing when it comes to the scientific community and more strategic use of it when it comes to nonprofits who are trying to make social change. With great leaders like Kelly, gathering gardener’s minds for an excellent post on wildlife plants,  I say the sky’s the limit!

Fall Migration Includes Butterflies, Hummingbirds and Content

Monarchs are MigratingMany species depend on migration because it is  imperative for their continued survival. Humans migrate, birds migrate, butterflies migrate, mammals besides humans migrate, data migrates  — it’s all so overwhelming.  While Fall migration is wrapping up at the end of this month, in my area there are still a few bird species migrating, as well as monarch butterflies — oh and not to mention NWF’s Web team. They have turned into migrating machines (migrating 4,000+ pages of our website that is!).

Phenology has captivated me since I learned about it in school, and while migrating content may not seem relevant to nature’s time schedule and the necessary journeys some animals take during a changing season, I can’t help but see the similarities. I love that NWF is moving our content and resources to a safer place, more accessible so that it can survive and rejuvenate easier. I am excited about learning a new system or tool, and mostly I’m excited that by the next time the butterflies and birds return, NWF will have a new home for its content!