5 Nature Apps to Make You a Plant & Animal Expert

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5 Nature Apps to Make You a Plant & Animal Expert

With roughly 500 animal species and more than 2500 plant species in Colorado, it’s near impossible to know them all. Whether you’re on a rigorous hike in Colorado’s forests, hanging out by one of the state’s reservoirs, or simply out on a walk in your neighborhood, these handy mobile apps will help you identify the plant and animal species that call Colorado home. All of these apps are available for free for Android and Apple products.


The social network for citizen science, this app is a great starting point for any budding naturalist. You can connect with others who can help you ID the plant or animals you found, keep a record of where you found them, and more. This app can share your findings with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help keep track of biodiversity worldwide, making this a truly global app.


Easily identify mushrooms you spot along a trail with this helpful app. Use your location or answer a few simple questions to help narrow down your options. For the forager, it also contains edibility information (Colorado has edible mushrooms, but there are also ones that will be very unkind to you if you eat one). 

Colorado Wetlands 

This comprehensive app from the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (a research unit housed at CSU) is a one-stop resource for all things wetlands in the state. It contains detailed information on Colorado’s 710 plant species found in wetland and riparian areas. It also boasts detailed maps with interactive tools to help you on your plant identification journey and helpful info on different types of wetland and riparian ecosystems around the state. 

CO Woody Plants

Learn how to identify trees and other plants in your backyard and beyond with this app from CSU. Its search function is easy to use and will help you quickly identify the tree, shrub, or cacti you found. With photos and thorough descriptions, including things like cone, leaf, and bark attributes, you’ll be a pro at ID’ing in no time! 

Merlin Bird ID

This app helps beginner and expert bird watchers alike identify what they see and hear! Answer a few simple questions, upload a photo, or even record a bird’s call, and this app from Cornell Lab will help you ID the bird in question. You can explore bird lists from others in your area and even save your own birding list.