By Ryan Neuman, Upstream Conservation Leader
From April 24 through May 3, TTF will host our annual BioBlitz!
What’s a BioBlitz?
A BioBlitz is when people gather or work collectively over a set amount of time in a defined area to document as many different species of living things as they can, such as plants, animals, insects and birds. These BioBlitzes are recorded in various ways. For our TTF BioBlitzes, we utilize the citizen science app iNaturalist.
iNaturalist allows you to upload pictures as well as audio of species you have seen (or heard). You can also take pictures out in the field and upload them on your computer. When you upload, a predictive feature within the app suggests what you may have seen based on your picture, the location, time of year, and other observations submitted. Then, experts on the app suggest identifications to help you ID your observation. Not only are you contributing to citizen science, you’re also learning to identify species that live near you!
How can you get involved in our BioBlitz?
First, download the iNaturalist app, or log on to iNaturalist on your desktop and create an account. This will make it easier to find the project and check out what everyone else is seeing in the watershed. From there, search for the Spring 2021 BioBlitz Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership and click join project.
You can learn more from from last year’s How to Use iNaturalist Webinar recording. It will help you familiarize yourself with how to use the app during the BioBlitz. You can post a few observations and check them out on our regular TTF page on iNaturalist.
Don’t worry — if you take a picture in our watershed, it will show up on the TTF wildlife page and the BioBlitz page. For these BioBlitzes, every observation that someone submits within the geographic boundary will automatically show up in the BioBlitz if it is dated and within that boundary.
Next, keep an eye out for any in-person BioBlitz events in the watershed. These events will be socially distanced, and will likely take place within Tacony Creek Park or one of our restoration sites in Montgomery County. If you don’t feel comfortable attending an in-person group event or can’t make one, that’s okay!
You can participate from anywhere in our watershed. That means you can go to a local park, one of our restoration sites, or even your own backyard! As long as the species is wild, and not a pet or a plant that you planted, every observation counts! Everything from the weeds in the crack of your sidewalk, and bugs flying around your lights at night, to the birds at your feeder all count towards this effort.
The goal of these BioBlitzes is to engage residents in our watershed, and also to see which species call our watershed home. We work with our communities to restore the health of our watershed, and we know that watershed restoration and providing habitat for native species go hand in hand.