With the warmer weather finally here, I’m looking forward to getting outdoors with my family. We’re avid campers and hikers, and I have to admit, I enjoy the time we spend away from screens. Turns out, it’s also Screen-Free Week, so how perfect that we discovered an app that can make your time outside more fun and educational. But shh, don’t tell the kids.

The app Seek (for iOS) uses your camera to identify any plant an animal you encounter while you’re in the great outdoors.For curious kids who love adventure, this is a very cool tool.

Photo by Maria Shanina on Unsplash

Related: The free Lab4U apps are like having a science lab in your smart phone

Match species you see with a database of images, with the Seek app from iNaturalist.

See what species are nearby, with the Seek app from iNaturalist

Earn badges as you collect images, with the Seek app from iNaturalist

Related: 7 terrific tech gear picks for camping and hiking

The Seek app will use your location (with permission) to show you what species are near you, or you can search through their categories of plants, reptiles, fungi, mammals, and more.

By tapping on the + icon, you can add your own photo, then Seek will use image recognition technology to match it to one of millions from the iNaturalist vault. So you can verify that those leaves of three are, actually, poison ivy. Or, maybe discover a new species native to your area.

How cool would that be?

As you add your own photos, you can participate in the game-type function of the app and earn badges for your collection. And your uploaded photos help their research efforts too.

I think this is a fantastic tool to help budding scientists or environmentalists build their knowledge and fuel their curiosity about the outdoors. Adding this to their devices now!

You can download the Seek app for iOS and Android.

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