Nerdy on Nature: Apps that will help you discover more about the natural world through a virtual lens
We’re all dreaming of our next adventure. Scrolling through Instagram and Googling places we want to explore as soon as lockdown is lifted has become a new favourite hobby.
Escaping into nature is still possible though, even if it’s within the confines of our own homes and through a screen. There are plenty of apps you can download, for free, which will open up a whole new world of virtual learning, from star constellations in our night sky to finding out which plants are growing in your garden. Nerd out on nature and when that next adventure comes around, imagine how much richer the world will feel around you.
This list of apps is designed to help you discover more about the natural world through a virtual lens. Some have been recommended by the Seedlip team, including our founder Ben Branson who loves using the PictureThis to identify plants on his daily walk.
All the apps in the list are free to download on both iOS and Android phones unless otherwise stated.
As always, we’d love to hear what you think about the apps we’ve recommended, and if we’ve missed one that you love to use all the time, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The apps below all work in a similar way; take a photo of the unknown plant and the app will identify it for you. Some are more community based than others. We suggest trying a few out to get a feel for the app you like most.
We’d also recommend not taking the results of the app at face value. Use them as a useful place to start but do your own research too, particularly if you’re trying to identify plants already growing in your garden.
Growing Fruit & Veg
RHS Grow Your Own
Learn to grow edible plants from the horticultural gurus at the Royal Horticultural Society. The app helps you to keep on top of daily garden tasks, offers advice on which fruit and veg to grow, and explains in detail how to sow, grow and harvest them.
An Instagram for gardeners, Candide is a social platform and community for like-minded plant people. The app includes articles on plant care tips and growing advice from horticultural experts, plus inspiration for gardens to visit.
Find us by searching for Seedlip.
Tree ID App by The Woodland Trust
It describes itself as an A-Z tree guide that fits in your pocket, as it can identify, in just a few questions, British trees whatever the season.
Identifying Bird Calls
An app to help you identify and learn songs of birds native to the UK & Europe. Includes a ‘human translation’ for some of the calls to help you understand what the calls mean.
Bird Song ID
Thanks to the App’s automatic recognition, you don’t need to be connected to the internet or even your mobile network to identify bird calls. Ideal if you like to explore wild and remote places.
Know your night sky
Sky View Lite
Point your phone at the sky to find stars, space stations and constellations above you. A fun element of the app is that constellations are illustrated in a way that you can see how the star was given its name.
Be prepared for your next adventure
These two apps are handy to have on your phone for when you want to plan your next adventure. The weather and knowing your route are pretty key elements of a successful trip.
Do your bit to help conservation
Get involved with biological recording by noting down the wildlife and plants you see when out and about in nature in this iRecord App. The information you record is passed on to scientists, and contributes to conservation, planning, research and education. It works offline too!