Nature observation and species identification

In addition to a museum experience, Luomus offers tips for observing nature and honing your skills in species identification in a group setting. Learn to identify species with the help of the Pinkka species learning environment and make observations using the iNaturalist and Seek apps.
Learning species identification – Pinkka

Pinkka (in Finnish) is an online learning environment that supports the identification of organisms and habitats. The Finnish name Pinkka refers to bundled dry plant specimens, which have traditionally been used to learn to identify species.

Targeted at schoolchildren, Pinkka contains information on plants, mosses and lichens that can be seen in the immediate surroundings. The website also has assignments geared at children of different ages, which can be used to study plants, fungi and mosses.

Learning species identification at the museum and gardens

The exhibitions of Luomus offer excellent opportunities for independently observing animals and plants, as well as for putting things in the appropriate proportions. In nature, animals are rarely seen at close range, making the exhibitions a unique opportunity to improve your skills in species identification.

Learning to identify plants from books is based on sight alone, but you can rely on several senses in the garden and outdoors. Different senses play a key role in the identification of plant species. Flavours, scents and other significant experiences increase the number of links associated with species, thus increasing the likelihood of imprinting and recalling.

Take a look, for instance, at the collection of Finnish bird species in the Finnish Nature exhibition on the third floor of the museum or the Finnish species in the geobotanical collection at Kumpula Botanic Garden.

Observing nature

Take artificial intelligence with you to nature! The artificial intelligence provided by the iNaturalist and Seek applications helps in species identification. Luomus maintains iNaturalistFi, a national member of the international iNaturalist network.

iNaturalist Suomi

With the help of smartphones and computers, iNaturalist can be used to record nature observations. The artificial intelligence and fellow users of the application help in identifying observations. At the same time, iNaturalist keeps a record of user observations, also producing observation data for researchers and others to use.

iNaturalist is best suited to lower secondary pupils and up, as the age limit for creating an account is 13 years. iNaturalist can also be used in contact teaching with the teacher’s credentials and device, or credentials and devices shared by the class, in which case pupils do not need personal credentials. Instructions for using the app in teaching have been drawn up for teachers (in Finnish).

Seek app

With its artificial intelligence, the Seek app helps you identify species, while simultaneously completing challenges and collecting badges. Seek is a more gamified application, created by the developers of iNaturalist, for observing species.

Seek is well suited to younger schoolchildren, as it does not store any information about the user by default and does not require logging in.

Additional tips

The Mappa material bank, maintained by the Finnish Association of Nature and Environment Schools, offers comprehensive materials, training options, events and other services for environmental education, the teaching of sustainable lifestyle skills as well as support for teaching outdoors for different age groups and other applications.