At Teton Science Schools, we embrace a culture of lifelong learning. So it’s only natural that when we create an opportunity to connect through citizen and community science, we look forward to it with enthusiasm. And when that opportunity coincides with the arrival of Spring? Even better!
As our graduate students wrap up their coursework for the year by spending next week in Yellowstone National Park, they will team up for a BioBlitz, and you’re invited to join them virtually from wherever you are. Just as we believe that learning can’t be contained by classroom walls, we also think that curiosity is contagious. Joining our BioBlitz is a fun way to experience both. So in the spirit of spring and a season of renewal, and in celebration of our Graduate Program’s 2020-21 cohort, we invite you to connect through this virtual community event.
Put simply, a BioBlitz is a fun and focused group effort to locate and identify as many species of plants and animals as you can in a short amount of time. The boundaries can be as small as a backyard garden or as large as an entire state or even country. Besides being a great way to learn more about a particular place, BioBlitzes provide a valuable snapshot of an area’s biodiversity. This is where the citizen and community science part comes in. Anyone who is interested can contribute their observations of our natural world by using Smartphone technology and digital tools such as iNaturalist. These tools help nonscientists to correctly identify wild plants and animals, and thereby create research-quality data that is then available to a large community of professionals. As individuals and groups pool their collective observations on citizen science platforms, scientists and policymakers gain access to a much larger data set than they could have generated on their own.
Want to join the fun and contribute to science? It’s easy.
- Complete this short form to register and learn more about this year’s BioBlitz, happening Saturday, May 22 through Friday, May 28.
- Go to iNaturalist and create a FREE account for you and/or your team.
- Join the “Project” TSS Grad Program and Community BioBlitz 2021.
And for some added inspiration and a helpful orientation to iNaturalist, you can check out this video intro created for last year’s event by our very own Amy Lorenz, Teacher Learning Center Faculty.
Here is a taste of how citizen and community science is making a difference locally and globally.
- Nature Mapping Jackson Hole engages volunteers in creating a long-term dataset of local wildlife observations designed around the needs of regional wildlife agencies and organizations.
- Wildflower Watch invites members of the public to partner with scientists like Trevor Bloom from The Nature Conservancy who are studying how climate change impacts local ecology by hiking particular trails in Grand Teton National Park or Bridger-Teton National Forest during the spring and summer and taking note of which flowers are blooming.
- EarthEcho Water Challenge invites participants to test water quality in your area with kits they supply and share the results with communities around the world.
- eBird is a citizen science platform that allows users to document bird abundance and behavior anywhere on the globe and participant contributions help inform bird research and conservation worldwide.