Best Apps to Help You Connect with Nature in Your Everyday Life

In our busy lives, it can be challenging to carve out time for nature. Luckily, there are many awesome apps that will help you connect with nature even if you don’t have much free time. 

Mobile phone in users hand with image of forest and nature

From tracking animals in your area to identifying trees by sight or sound, these apps make it easier than ever to get back in touch with the natural world around you. Here are some of the best apps to help you connect with nature and get closer to the natural world all around you.

Track animals in your area

If you’re interested in wildlife tracking, there are a number of wildlife apps you can use to help keep track of animals in your area. 

Moose standing in the middle of a gravel road

iTrack Wildlife Lite - iTrack Wildlife goes far beyond what a traditional field guide can offer with powerful search tools that make track identification easier than ever before. Simply select basic characteristics of a track you want to identify and you will quickly narrow down your search to just a few similar tracks. Then, browse through the photos until you find your track.

iNaturalist - iNaturalist is one of the most well-known nature apps. Jointly created by the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic Society, iNaturalist aids you identify plant and animal species in your area. Connect with over 400,000 scientists and naturalists who can assist you in learning more about nature! Furthermore, by recording and sharing your observations, you can contribute research-quality data to scientists studying and protecting nature.

If you live near a national park, you can use iNaturalist to report your sightings and get more connected with the wildlife in your area. If you don’t live near a national park, you can still use the app to track animals in your area and help scientists learn more about the animals that live there.

Identify plants and trees

Identifying a plant

If you’re interested in learning more about the plants and trees around you, there are several different apps you can use to identify them by simply taking a picture, uploading and verifying the suggestions provided!

PlantNet can currently recognize 20,000 plant species. While it is still a long way from the 360,000 species alive on earth, PlantNet is growing daily due to the input of the most experienced users like you. Don't hesitate to contribute your knowledge! Your observation will be evaluated by the community, and it might one day be used to assist pictures in identifying species in the application.

Seek App by iNaturalist - Do you ever wish you knew what a flower or tree was? Seek can identify a variety of plants for you using your smartphone camera! You can create a profile and upload pictures of all your discoveries, and the app will add them to its photo database so other users can check them out. If you want to identify multiple plants, you can take a photo of a sample of each plant so that the app doesn’t get confused between them.

PictureThis uses proprietary artificial intelligence technology to accurately recognise over 17,000 plant species. PictureThis constantly learns from experts and specialists to become better. With more than 70 million users, PictureThis helps you identify, learn, and enjoy all types of plants. PictureThis can recognise flowers, trees, succulents, cacti, and more.

Find hiking trails near you

If you want to enjoy some quality time outdoors but aren’t sure where to go, try using an app to find hiking trails near you. 

Couple sitting overlooking a view on a hiking trail

AllTrails helps you find hiking, biking, backpacking, and running trails across the world. Track your hike, run, or mountain bike ride with our GPS tracking system. Get to the trailhead and begin your outdoor journey with our offline maps.

Komoot is an application that helps you discover new trails to hike, bike, run, and walk. With the help of other users' experiences, you can plan your next adventure. This app can also track things like the distance you’ve hiked and your pace, so you can keep better track of your progress and fitness.

Help you easily identify birds by ear

If you love birds but have a hard time identifying them by sight, you can use a simple app to help you easily identify birds by ear. iBird Pocket Guide is a subscription-based app that lets you identify birds by ear by listening to their calls.

Tropical bird perched on a wooden rail

BirdNET - Using artificial intelligence and neural networks, the BirdNET research project attempts to train computers to recognise over 3,000 of the most common birds worldwide. Using the microphone on your Android device, you can record a file and see if BirdNET correctly recognises the likely bird species present.

Merlin Bird ID is a revolutionary new way to identify birds from photos and recordings. eBird, the world's largest database of bird sightings, sounds, and photos, powers Merlin. With Merlin, you can identify birds in four different ways. You can answer a few questions, upload a photo, record a singing bird, or explore birds in a region, for example.

Help you see more stars and planets

If you’re interested in exploring the night sky, there are some apps you can use to help you see more stars and planets. 

Stars in the night sky behind row of trees

Stellarium Mobile - Star Map is a planetarium app that shows exactly what you see when you look up at the stars. This astronomy application has an easy to use and minimalist user interface, that makes it one of the best astronomical applications for adults and children who want to explore the night sky.

SkyView Free is a free stargazing app that uses your camera to precisely spot and identify celestial objects in the sky, day or night. As you scan the sky, you'll see popular constellations fading in and out, as well as planets in our solar system, distant galaxies, and satellite fly-bys.

This app can also help you learn about the stars and planets in our solar system, helping you better understand our place in the universe.

Make a positive impact

If you want to make a positive impact on the natural world, there are several apps that can help you. 

Group of young people hold up a banner celebrating world cleanup day

Earth Hero - Through Earth Hero, you can take meaningful, real-world steps to help the environment. You can be part of a worldwide movement fighting climate change and biodiversity loss.

OpenLitterMap is an open source, interactive, and accessible database of the world's litter and plastic pollution. For many people, litter has become normal and invisible. Litter maps tells a powerful story that reveals the invisible and communicates plastic pollution as a local problem. Using the app is easy:

1. Take a photo
2. Tag the litter
3. Upload it

AWorld - You can combat climate change and build a more sustainable world by altering your habits and making environmentally conscious choices. Here, you will find engaging and inspiring material to assist you. Every day, you will find tips and challenges aimed at making better decisions.

Summing Up

Connecting with nature is important for our mental health, physical health, and emotional health. These apps can help you connect with nature in your everyday life, particularlly if you have specific interests.

If you don’t have a lot of free time, I personally highly recomend Google Lens, built into the Google Photos app, native to most Andorid Phones. I use it nearly daily to identify bugs in seconds, with my two young children, and we all love it!

From tracking animals in your area to identifying plants and trees, these apps make it easier than ever to get back in touch with the natural world around you, but we don't need apps to appreciate and wonder at the marvels of nature: just get out there and enjoy our most precious gift!

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