Calling citizen scientists – sign up for the Great Southern BioBlitz

Australian Masked Owl.

 

THE Great Southern Bioblitz (GSB) is a citizen science event – 22 to 25 October 2021 – now in its second year throughout the Southern Hemisphere using the iNaturalist app and website.

iNaturalist is an online social network of naturalists, citizen scientists and biologists, built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe – and everyone is invited to participate.

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A BioBlitz is a snapshot study of a specific location, where scientists and the community work together to survey and record as many species as possible within a nominated timeframe, in this case 96 hours in your local time zone.

These observations can then be used by local environmental groups, government departments, students, and other organisations to increase biodiversity awareness, protect habitat, determine species distribution, increase scientific literacy, climate change research, and inform policy.

The local GSB organiser on the Coffs Coast is Nick Lambert, a schoolteacher who has lived in Toormina for thirty-five years (all his life), the last four of which have been involved with iNaturalist and learning about our local environments.

“Our local region for the purposes of the BioBlitz includes the Coffs and Bellingen LGAs,” Nick told News Of The Area.

“As local organiser, my role is to encourage other locals to engage with their natural environments and take a closer look at what is around them, sometimes literally in their backyards.

“The idea is to find, photograph and upload sightings of plants and wildlife from the local area within the timeframe.

“This can be done using the app on a phone (which automatically adds the time and place of the sighting), or you can use cameras and upload photos via the website.

“The app/website has software in place that even makes suggestions about what you’ve seen when you upload, to help you make an initial ID.

“Once uploaded, your sighting can be viewed by the iNat community, made up of amateur naturalists and experts alike, both local and international.

“The community will help to identify what you have seen.”

Questions and learning are encouraged.

Last year Coffs/Bellingen came seventh for the number of observations and third for the overall number of species sighted out of the 155 participating regions.

For further information, queries and regular updates, follow the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/coffsbioblitz21.

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

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