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Our Association has members with extensive experience in Species identification.

It takes specialized skills and scientific expertise to correctly identify species. There are millions of species on Earth—between 5 and 30 million —and just 2 million species have been identified and named. That means there are more species that are unknown than known. In addition, some species are so similar that differences are visible only through DNA analysis. National Geographic.com

One of the challenges of getting close to nature is working out how to identify species of plants, animals, insects, reptiles .........  This may help to clarify that whilst we all try to be exact about it, there is sometimes room for some discussion on its accuracy. Check out lifeonterra.com for a video about The Species Problem.

General Principles

When someone says it better than you can then its best to refer you to them. The Guardian.com has a good description of species identification issues in its article How species are identified where is states:

The real question of course though is how can species be recognised and identified? This is where things get complex and disagreements can arise between biologists, since species are more fluid than elements or atoms. By definition, species evolve and over time populations change, diverge and lineages split into new species.

For a discussion of species identification system issues, a good start is Wikipedia on Species. Follow this with some practical tools at Atlas of Living Australia and our Useful Links tab above.

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Why does attentiveness to nature matter? In a very fundamental sense, we are what we pay attention to. Paying heed to beauty, grace, and everyday miracles promotes a sense of possibility and coherence that runs deeper and truer than the often illusory commercial, social "realities" advanced by mainstream contemporary culture. ... Our attention is precious, and what we choose to focus it on has enormous consequences. What we choose to look at, and to listen to--these choices change the world. As Thich Nhat Hanh has pointed out, we become the bad television programs that we watch. A society that expends its energies tracking the latest doings of the celebrity couple is fundamentally distinct from one that watches for the first arriving spring migrant birds, or takes a weekend to check out insects in a mountain stream, or looks inside flowers to admire the marvelous ingenuities involved in pollination. The former tends to drag culture down to its lowest commonalities; the latter can lift us up in a sense of unity with all life. The Way of Natural History, edited by Thomas Lowe Fleischner and published by Trinity University Press (Texas)