Mountain School Recommends: Apps, Videos, and Live Cams

With the Spring closure of our Environmental Learning Center, our Mountain School Instructors are at home spending time in their local communities. During this time, they have compiled some of their favorite educational and nature-exploration resources that they have been itching to share with others! The resources include books, poetry, podcasts and, in this post, citizen science apps, videos and webcams. There’s more to come and we hope these resources help you find peace, knowledge, and a way to serve the scientific community!

App Suggestions

Merlin by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Lindsay says: Merlin by Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a birding app that not only provides complete but also accessible information. It has a bird identification function that allows you to enter information about a bird you saw to come up with likely suspects. The bird identification function is just as useful for first time birders as it is for experts. Plus, it is free!

Mari says: iNaturalist is an app that not only lets you post pictures of natural mysteries for others in the community to help you solve, but it also allows you contribute to a greater body of data that research scientists actually use to study the natural world!


Trees Pacific NW
Bridget says: The Trees Pacific NW app is helpful in identifying the trees around me by their most distinguishable characteristic. It provides basic information about which trees grow in your location (example: coastal, high elevation). Once you have identified a tree, you may want to move to another resource for more in-depth learning.

The Globe Observer
Mari says: The Globe Observer is an app that has you take and submit pictures of the sky around you to be entered into an international database. It’s especially fun to compare the images with the sky around you and across time!

Video Suggestions

The Biggest Little Farm
Alexa says: This is a sweet documentary I watched recently about the process of a farm becoming totally sustainable. It stole my heart! You can watch with a Hulu subscription, rent from Amazon, or purchase direct from the documentary website.


Deep Look Video Series
Jillian says: The Deep Look videos on YouTube are usually 3-5 minutes in length are all very interesting, accessible, and fun. I especially recommend this one about banana slugs and their slime!


Webcam Suggestions

North American Bear Center Live Cams
Emilee says: This is such an amazing resource created by the North American Bear Center. In addition to the live cams of bears, the website provides great articles about bear spray and why people are afraid of bears, and really interesting information about hibernation of bears. Lots of great articles and tools here!

Seattle Aquarium Live Cams
Alexa says: Stuck inside and want to watch some sweet wildlife while you drink your morning coffee? Check out these live web cams showing some residents of the  Seattle Aquarium. You can hang out with cute harbor seals and sea otters!

Thank you for helping us offer these at-home lessons for transformative learning experiences in nature by making a gift at

Special thanks to these Mountain School Instructors for sharing their favorite resources: 

  • Alexa loves all the mysteries the ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest offer us. A few of her favorite things to explore are Puget Sound marine life—tide pools especially—and salmon!
  • Bridget gets excited about hiking on trails both familiar and unfamiliar, seeking out edible plants, and watching birds.
  • Emilee adores trees—they have a whole way of life we are still trying to study and understand. Also bears! The dynamic history between Grizzly bears and humans is very interesting and bears are just amazing creatures in general.
  • Jillian loves slugs (especially banana slugs), birds, lichen, and mushrooms! She also likes collecting interesting rocks, and picking berries for jams, pies, and other baked goods.
  • Lindsay declares her top three passions in nature are raptors, rocks, and fungus.
  • Mari chooses plants, fire ecology, and ethnobotany as her passions in nature.

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