Welcome to the NatureShare v1 Documentation and Information Pages - click here to go directly to the NatureShare site.

If you do nothing else
, please read this page in full - it contains very useful information on the main things you need to know.
But even before that
, if you haven't got it on your computer already, download the free browser Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome now ... NatureShare is designed to work with Firefox or Chrome (or Safari). If you are using other browsers, some important aspects of NatureShare will not work.

To find things quickly in this site, try using the "Search this site" box (top right of this screen) if you want to find something specific (eg. search for "survey', "overall", etc).

Important: The species names for all of the plants, mammals, birds, frogs, snakes & lizards, butterflies, dragonflies and grasshoppers known to occur in Victoria are in the NatureShare database. Some moth names are also in the database. Observations for all the species in these groups are now possible in NatureShare. Other species groups will come on-line in the near future - keep an eye on 'What's New'!

Getting Started - click on this link for some useful notes on getting started with NatureShare.

NatureShare is a tool for individuals and groups to document and share information about their local environment. Everything you put into NatureShare (photos, locations, biological attributes) is shared in a real and functional way with everyone across Victoria. NatureShare is free to everyone and can be used by anyone (individuals, groups, councils, companies, etc). Anyone, or any group, can set up species 'collections' for their own property, for parks/reserves, for areas/towns, for anything, anywhere. You can easily integrate NatureShare into your existing website and you can even access the NatureShare code and write your own code to help improve NatureShare. If we all share, we all benefit.

This site is designed to maximise the use of your information/photos and speed up your use of NatureShare - reading every page on this site will improve your understanding of how NatureShare works and you will find heaps of neat functionality.

Three important ways YOU can help build NatureShare (in addition to your observations)
  1. Add photos of species that are not already pictured on NatureShare.
  2. Add basic 'Biological Attributes' for each species in the species section. Photo top right of this page shows Leptospermum continentale (Prickly Tea-tree) with basic and searchable attributes including 'flower: white', 'flower: petalled', 'petals: 5', 'leaf: prickly', 'wing: green', 'body: yellow'.

  3. Help others. If you find an observation without a species name, an incorrect species name, or without a collection assigned, you can add/change that information.
The most important things to do when you upload 'Observations' to NatureShare ('observations' are the basis of NatureShare - maximise the use of your observations)
  1. Add 'Species' name(s) (if known - NB. it is OK to upload a photo if you don't know the species name).
  2. Add 'Tags' to the observation (Tags are very important - see below!).
  3. Add the 'Location' - where the observation was made.
  4. Add which 'Collection' the observation belongs to (if one exists - eg. 'Birds of the Macedon Range') - if a collection doesn't exist and you are from that area, consider starting a new collection by yourself or, preferably, with a local group. Note, you have to be a member of a collection to add to a collection.
This is what we get asked about the most

  • Tags - what are Tags?
    Tags are ONLY relevant to the Observations section. When you upload an observation make sure you think about adding a Tag because Tags help build searchable information about individual species. A Tag is any important feature of the observation/photo. An example of a Tag for an observation/photo of a plant in flower is 'flower'. Tag data is also important because it will be used to build a calendar of when the plant is in flower. (NatureShare's Calendar feature is currently under development). Another example of a Tag is 'leaf' (if you have uploaded a good picture of the leaf), 'male' or 'juvenile' (if you observed/photographed the male or juvenile of the species), 'mating' if the observation is showing a mating pair, etc. It isn't always necessary to add tags but the correct tags will ensure the maximum use of your observations. The image to the right from a Wurmbea dioica (Early Nancy) observation has got the tags 'flower' (because it is in flower) and 'female' (because it shows female flowers). More Tags relevant to specific categories of species.

  • Biological Attributes
    Biological Attributes are ONLY relevant to the Species and Search sections. Biological Attributes are important attributes of a particular species. There are two main types of attributes:
    1) basic or main observable characteristics of the species such as 'flower:yellow', 'petals:5', 'leaf:prickly', 'wing:green', 'habit:groundcover' - this is the base data that people note when they see the species or things that help in narrowing down a search in NatureShare; or
    2) detailed features that help distinguish it from other similar species (or subspecies).
    The format for biological attributes is usually Noun:Adjective and the best attributes are minimalist. More examples of Biological Attributes.

  • Categories

    Categories are ONLY relevant to the the Species and Search sections. Categories are groups of species sharing common attributes that are recognised by a commonly used name; eg. 'parrot', 'wattle', 'butterfly', 'weed', 'rare_threatened', 'fern', 'fauna_introduced', 'extinct_vic'. A full list of categories is available on the main Species page and relevant categories for individual species are listed on the relevant species page (eg. see Amethyst Hairstreak - pictured right).

  • Classifications
    Classifications are ONLY relevant to the Species and Search sections. Classifications are formal/scientific classifications; eg. the two main ones are arguably 'family' and 'order'. These take the form 'family:orchidaceae', 'order:lepidoptera', etc. Classifications for individual species are listed on the relevant species page (eg. see Helena Gum Moth).