If you’re a critter counter, garden geek, bird watcher, or nature nerd of any sort, read on! Starting in June 2019, Nearby Nature began hosting Citizen Science Saturdays once a month in local natural areas. Inspired by the fun we had at our April 2019 Bioblitz (see highlights below) and motivated by a desire to model that science is real, we are making opportunities for our members and friends to engage in citizen science a whole new priority.
For the first year of this program, we’ll be grouping our projects by season. Last summer, we focused on insects. In the fall, we switched to fungi. There is so much to learn from these fascinating members of the web of life. Winter will be for bird study. In the spring, we’ll document the abundance of plant life that bursts into bloom as the sun reappears after months of rain. See our Events Calendar for on-going listings.
We are currently using iNaturalist as our platform for documenting observations through photography. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to bring a smartphone or camera to events they attend. Smartphone users should also load the iNaturalist app (https://www.inaturalist.org/) onto their phones.
Starting in the Spring of 2020, community members can participate in Citizen Science year around by joining our Natural Neighbors project on iNaturalist! Through this project, people will document the myriad of living things that inhabit the nearby natural world all over our community. We look forward to seeing what you discover!
Citizen Science Saturdays are designed for adult participants and free for members and volunteers ($7 for non-members). Registration for individual events as well as membership is online. Families are invited to enjoy similar and more age-appropriate science activities through our Green Start Play Days and weekend Nature Quests.
Thanks to board member Holly Hartmann for hosting our first year of events and for inspiring us to get this project up and running!
Bioblitz 2019 Highlights
Nearby Nature’s first ever Bioblitz in April was a great success. To see a complete record of the observations we made in the Learnscape and Alton Baker Park (plus others before and since the Bioblitz), go to iNaturalist.org and search for the Nearby Nature Learnscape and Alton Baker Park Natural History projects under Community—Projects. Below are a few highlights from the day.
- 35 volunteers helped, including a group from the UO’s Earth Day of Service program.
- Over 200 species were observed in the Learnscape at the event.
- New observations bumped up the Alton Baker Park project’s total to over 400 species.
Thanks so much to all who participated. We hope to make this an annual event!