April 13, 2017 – Have you ever seen a Humboldt lily? Do you know what a yellow-breasted chat looks like? Can you spot a bald eagle’s nest?
These questions and more can be answered when local youth and families participate in Bear Yuba Land Trust’s (BYLT) First Annual Community BioBlitz taking place on three beautiful, protected nature preserves Saturday, May 6.
During BYLT’s spring time event, participants armed with cameras and notebooks will become “citizen scientists” documenting and identifying as many plants, animals, fungi and other organisms they see.
All the data will be compiled then uploaded to the Academy of Sciences’ community-supported web-based database, iNaturalist, using an easy-to-use smartphone APP. The data will become part of a permanent record that will help land managers track the health of plant and wildlife habitat over time. Information gathered will be part of a critical collection of local habitat data that BYLT can use to monitor adaptations to climate change. Some of the data may even be used to create cool flora and fauna guidebooks.
“This is a great opportunity for young people to connect with nature while using fun digital technology in the field. As citizen scientists, kids can explore outside of the traditional classroom setting and come face to face with the wonderful plant and animal world found in their own backyard,” said Community Engagement Manager Laura Petersen.
No level of scientific knowledge is needed and experts in botany, biology, ornithology and other sciences will be on hand at each site to share their knowledge and help people identify the species they observe.
On Saturday, kids accompanied by their “grownups” will venture to three protected landscapes – 37-acre Adam Ryan Preserve near the community of Alta Sierra; 2,700-acre Rice’s Crossing Preserve at French Bar on the Yuba River and 652-acre working cattle ranch known as Garden Bar on the Bear River.
The nature preserves are found within the watersheds of the Bear and Yuba Rivers – a region considered to be among the most biologically diverse places on the planet.
BYLT’s Saturday BioBlitz follows on the heels of a Friday BioBlitz for schools, a day when hundreds of students will expand their science education by visiting Rice’s Crossing Preserve at Yuba Rim near the town of Dobbins in Yuba County, Black Swan Preserve near the town of Smartsville and Woodpecker Preserve on Banner Mountain in Nevada City.
What is a BioBlitz? The National Park Service started a nationwide BioBlitz in 2016 at over 100 National Parks throughout the country. The idea has become a global movement where people of all ages and abilities capture a biological snapshot of the unique biodiversity of important landscapes on a single day.
Now in its 27th year, Bear Yuba Land Trust is a community-supported organization that has saved 12,000 acres of land from development, built 35 miles of trails and provides treks and educational programs to get hundreds of people outdoors to connect with nature.
Learn more and register for the BioBlitz at: http://www.bylt.org/bioblitz/
Learn more about iNaturalist: http://www.inaturalist.org/