Photo: Lead your own beach bioblitz!

(Credit: Stephen Morgan)

At a bioblitz, volunteer citizen scientists observe species in a specific location within a limited time. It's a fun way to get outside, discover the wonders of biodiversity and collect valuable data.

Lead your own beach bioblitz! Choose a favourite nearby shoreline. Get family and friends together. Use the free iNaturalist mobile app. You can download it here for iPhone and here for Android.

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With iNaturalist you can photograph wildlife and share where and when your sightings take place. iNaturalist scientists and taxonomists will help you identify species and share the data you collect with the scientific community. Don't own a smartphone? Take pictures on a digital camera and upload them to iNaturalist on a computer.

Planning your beach bioblitz

  1. Download iNaturalist and practice. The app is easy to use and makes leading a bioblitz simple.
  2. Set a date, time and location. Pick a time convenient for most people. Choose a nearby beach you like. Identify a good spot for your group to meet. Figure out how long your event will be (one to two hours is reasonable) and choose your walking distance accordingly. It's best to run your bioblitz during low tide. To check tides in your area click here and search for your region.
  3. Create a "project" on iNaturalist. The "projects" tool groups all observations from your event together. Click here for more information.
  4. Invite your friends and family! Send e-mail, create a Facebook event or set up an EventBrite page. (EventBrite e-mails your whole list and monitors attendees.) Tell your citizen scientists to download iNaturalist, create an account and join your project (provide the project name so they can search for it) before the event day. Encourage them to play around with the app in advance to get the hang of it. A group of 10 to 20 citizen scientists is ideal for one leader.
  5. Lead your group of citizen scientists!
    1. Gather at your designated meeting spot
    2. Run through how to "make an observation" on iNaturalist:
    3. Start walking! Encourage people to take in their surroundings and look for organisms. Tell people to keep their phones in their pockets until they're ready to make an observation.
    4. Have fun!
May 30, 2017