With the growth of citizen science showing no sign of slowing, next weekend, 1-2 June, sees the first national Garden Bioblitz. Trialled last year by a group of wildlife enthusiasts on Twitter, it involves recording the wild plants and animals you find in your garden at one or several points during the twenty-four hour period and reporting back. You should also take photos of everything you ID, to reassure the researchers that you’ve named them correctly. If something stumps you, you can tweet the organisers a photo and await a reply.
Last year, the trial Bioblitz resulted in over 2000 records, with nearly 1000 species identified. This year should be much, much bigger. According to amateur naturalist Jane Adams, who helped run it last year and tweets from @wildlifestuff, “We don’t think it matters whether people find ten species or two hundred species; the main thing is they have looked, learnt a little more about their garden wildlife, and have had loads of fun.”
Bioblitz certainly seems to be the new buzzword. As the Bristol Natural History Consortium tells us, it means “a large scale event that engages people with biodiversity, inviting them to get directly involved in surveying and monitoring their local wildlife and green spaces”. Or, to put it another way, it’s trying to encourage public interest in conservationa and scientific research.
If you fancy being a citizen scientist (or – I hazard a new word – bioblitzer), visit their website for a list of Bioblitzes taking place around the country this summer.