Nature center bioblitz set for April 28-29


By Adam Zorn

Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center

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Have you heard of a bioblitz? It’s an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.

Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center is organizing a bioblitz April 28-29 in support of the City Nature Challenge 2018, organized by the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum Los Angeles County. The nature center’s observations will be added to the Cleveland region team organized by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

More than 60 cities worldwide will be competing in the City Nature Challenge 2018 to see which city can make the most observations of nature, find the most species and engage the most participants.

Participating in the Challenge and/or the nature center’s bioblitz is easy.

1. Find wildlife. It can be any plant, animal or evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses) you find.

2. Take a picture of what you find. Be sure to note the location of the critter or plant.

3. Share your observations. Upload your findings to iNaturalist using your computer or the iNaturalist app on your smartphone.

Now that you have the gist of what the City Nature Challenge is, I’d like you to consider participating and encouraging your friends to do the same.

Of course, the nature center stands to benefit from having a number of people walking around with cellphones photographing and recording biodiversity, but there are some benefits for participants too:

For many people, this might be the first time participating in a bioblitz. Bioblitzes are fun and participants are certainly going to see things they have never seen before.

Citizen science is an emerging discipline within the larger science community, and this is a great introduction to how crowd-sourced data collection can be used to gather quantities of data no single scientist or group of researchers could ever collect on their own.

Because iNaturalist uses a community of professional scientists, natural resource professionals, professional naturalists and amateur naturalists to validate observations, it’s a great way for newcomers to join in without fear of adding incorrect data.

The iNaturalist app has some amazing skills for identifying observations, and the iNaturalist community can correct any mistaken identifications through community review. It’s a great way to learn.

The nature center’s bioblitz will have a variety of guided activities such as bird banding, bird walks, and wildflower walks in addition to on-site instruction for those looking to self-guide their exploration.

For more information about the nature center’s bioblitz, contact Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center at 330-823-7487. Learn more about the nature center at www.mountunion.edu/nature-center.

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