Abstract: Citizen science has established itself as an important approach to the co-production of knowledge and public participation in scientific research. Combined with digital technologies and online tools, the approach has been celebrated as a path toward the democratization of science. However, only a few studies have investigated the role digital technologies play in shaping interactions between people and nature. Additionally, the role of context in shaping online and face-to-face participation in citizen science projects has yet to receive much attention. This article takes a citizen science initiative in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest in the state of São Paulo as an illustrative case of the emergence of unanticipated consequences of digital technologies. The emergence of a socio-material practice of animal identification through a popular instant-messaging app is described, allowing a better understanding of the role of digital technologies and the context framing citizen participation in challenging environments.