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The Second Huddart BioBlitz, and 200,000 observations in sight for San Mateo County!

Hope to see all of you at the Spring 2019 Huddart County Park BioBlitz, Saturday April 27. We'll be on the eastern side of the park this time. The trails are shorter, the habitats much more varied, and due to the winter rains, there are plenty of areas with running streams, moist logs, and flowering plants.

Sign up and join the project! https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/2019-huddart-county-park-spring-bioblitz

Before the end of this month, this project will have reached 200,000 observations. Great work everyone!

Jennifer (a.k.a. gyrrlfalcon)

Posted on April 18, 2019 06:05 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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The Second Huddart BioBlitz

Hope to see all of you at the Spring 2019 Huddart County Park BioBlitz, Saturday April 27. We'll be on the eastern side of the park this time. The trails are shorter, the habitats much more varied, and due to the winter rains, there are plenty of areas with running streams, moist logs, and flowering plants.

Sign up and join the project! https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/2019-huddart-county-park-spring-bioblitz

Jennifer (a.k.a. gyrrlfalcon)

Posted on April 18, 2019 06:04 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Изменение границ

Мы расширили границы наблюдений во круг Куштау до 1 км. Это буферная зона, которая должна быть у любой охраняемой территории. Там, где граница проходит вплотную к шихану, расположены поселения или промышленные объекты, здесь буферная зона невозможна. Зато в зону 1 км от горы теперь попадает русло реки Белой, так что к наблюдениям можно будет добавлять и водную фауну и флору.

Posted on April 18, 2019 05:10 by krivosheev krivosheev | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Amigos si pueden ponerle una portada de una foto emblemática del sitio estará bien. Gracias

Posted on April 18, 2019 04:57 by elizatorres elizatorres | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Posted on April 18, 2019 04:26 by mphay mphay | 24 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

DO NOT pick the flowers!!

Don't pick the flowers so you can take pictures of it later. We need those flowers to produce SEEDS!! Also do not post pictures of plants that you took at your home. Post a picture of the plant at its original location. If you post a picture that you took of the plant at your house and you don't obscure the location, your location will be visible to everyone.

Posted on April 18, 2019 04:13 by acorncap acorncap | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Sophia Casciano Journal Entry (Week of 4/11/19)

Sophia Casciano

On the morning of April 11th, after briefly discussing the material for the day, the group trekked over to the vernal pond ecosystem. Immediately noted was the evident rise in water level due to the rampant precipitation trends observed earlier in the week. Additionally, because of the relatively cold temperatures experienced in the days prior to Thursday morning, portions of the vernal ponds contained sheets of ice situated along the edge of the water. However, on a positive note, the group immediately noticed the increase in relative plant growth and general life; plants observed the week prior appeared to be greener and more abundant. In particular, the pussy willows noted during week displayed further growth; this growth was beautifully captured in picture form. The group also noted the increase in relative insect populations; spiders were extremely prevalent both along the edge and surface of the vernal pond. Bird populations were also observed along the perimeter of the ecosystem, typically perched in trees along the water’s edge. Algae communities continued to dominate the scene this week, as the plant was encountered consistently at the water’s surface; some members of the group reported an observed increase in algae presence. After making these crucial initial observations, we began our in-depth analysis of the ecosystem through immersing ourselves in the frigid yet invigorating waters. Through employment of both Professor Riley’s garden shovel and gloves, we “embraced the mud” by scooping up handfuls of dirt from the vernal pool floor, most often with our hands. We then placed the mud in provided nets and sifted through the dirt carefully, being careful to note encountered organisms. Although we have not yet encountered any amphibians or reptiles thus far, likely due to the relatively cold recent temperatures, through this exercise we were fortunate enough to photograph several insect and plant species. After our hands-on observance of our ecosystem, we began our fifteen minutes of silence. During this serene, euphoric period of time, beyond the powerful, persistent wind gusts, we heard several noises ranging from croaks of wood frogs to calls of red-tailed hawks and red-winged blackbirds. Also dominating the “silence” was the pecking of woodpeckers and the chirping of peepers present throughout the ecosystem. After the elapsed fifteen minutes, we traveled over to our BioCube, which was still half submerged in the vernal pool and surrounded by vegetation as we had left it the week prior. In our BioCube, although we refrained from disrupting the life encased from within, we did observe a vast collection of plants and insects situated within the boundaries of the cube. Next lab session, we are hoping to encounter some amphibian and reptile life. We are also looking to photograph more plant and insect species if possible. We are really looking forward to getting our hands dirty next week; the group is definitely about to embrace the mud and get elbows deep in biodiversity!

Posted on April 18, 2019 04:01 by scasciano scasciano | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Field Journal 1

I was apprehensive about going to the farm with only sneakers to protect my feet. I prayed to the farm gods that I would not encounter any deep bodies of water or would be able to finesse my way around them if I could.

When I got to the farm, it was a lot colder and windier than I expected. I was glad that I decided to wear a sweatshirt and long coat that day. The farm was also larger than I thought. I did not expect the tour to take 30 min. I thought that was an overestimate.

It was also my first time on a farm. I did not know that the ground would be made of dry, hay-like plant matter. While it was nice to see the stream and vernal pond, which is the location my group would be studying, I found the bike trail and the knowledge of nearby beaver dams to be the most exciting part of the tour. The bike trail was neatly paved and scenic trees lining both sides of the trail. I also was impressed by how much the beavers could affect water levels in the pond.

When it came time to explore the vernal ponds, my group shoved the BioCube in the first acceptable spot we could find. We wanted to hit the ground running as soon as possible and capture our needed pictures for the day. We nestled the cube under some trees and plants with half of it submerged in the dirty water.

We then took the little blue net and tried to fish in the water to find some moving organisms like bugs or salamanders. Sadly, we did find anything of the sort in the net. There was only mud and leaves that was scooped up in it.

At this point, my sneakers were soaked and I could not feel my toes. The cold wind also froze my fingers. I entertained the possibility of getting frostbite in the back of my head, but pushed on and vowed to buy boots the moment I got back on campus.

I tried to take the binoculars to spot some birds, but did not see any. Meanwhile, my group mates looked around and took pictures of the plants nearby. One plant that we were able to identify was called "Pussy Willow". It grey and fuzzy puffs at the ends of the tree's branches. We collected a sample from it.

During my 15 in of silence... there was literally silence. The only thing I could hear was the rustling of the wind and not much else. There were no birds calls in the distance. I was a bit disappointed and hoped to hear more things next visit when it will be warmer and birds will be more likely to come out to play,

Overall, this was a decent first visit to the farm. I could have lived without frozen feet and the freezing wind though.

Posted on April 18, 2019 03:58 by lduong lduong | 0 comments | Leave a comment

BioCube 10- April 17 2019

During our moment of silence today, Dan was delivering samples to Marissa at the farmhouse, so it was most quieter than the previous week. We were able to hear several different bird calls through the trees, as well as observe a small black bird building a nest in the small clearing of the forest. In that same clearing, we also got to observe small piles of hay, which, when disturbed, released a flurry of spiders. Because of their abundance, I decided to choose these as the species to focus on going forward. We had the opportunity to take a short survey of the clearing, and within 10 minutes, were able to count 38 individuals within a 144 square foot area.
About an hour into the biome exploration, Professor Riley visited us in the forest, and demonstrated how to excavate soil around tree roots to find more insects. Afterwards, we were able to find and trace several vole tunnels around the base of some of the conifer trees. These were particularly interesting because although it is too early in the year to see the rodents themselves, their architecture was preserved. Furthermore, we were able to find green and yellow larvae.
From the forest, we took back containers of larvae and spiders, which survived for six days without food or water. It was interesting watching the spiders avoid each other within the confined space. Overall, I found our second visit to Foxcroft Farm to be a good continuation of last weeks ecosystem exploration. I always like an opportunity to get off campus and into nature, and being able to learn more about the ecosystems around us was a great experience. Hopefully by next week, our crippled group member will be able to go into the conifer ecosystem with us to study nature more.

Posted on April 18, 2019 03:40 by seacsullivan seacsullivan | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Field Journal 2

From the start, this second visit was better than the first. Unlike last time, I woke up with 15 min to get ready instead of 3 min like last time. Also, I had tall, waterproof boots this time! I would not be walking around with cold feet in soggy sneakers.

Once we got to the farm, my group and I trekked to our BioCube and to our joy we found it in the same place and same condition. We then split off into smaller groups to gather more pictures of new species or to get better pictures of the species we found last time. I definitely needed to do the latter.

I found that using the "Selective Focus" mode on my camera allowed me to take more detailed photos of plants and insects up close because it was programmed to take pictures of objects 20 inches or closer to the lens. This also added an effect that blurred the background which allowed for more focus on the subject.

While walking around the area I was excited to find little bugs scurrying about the dried hay I walked on. However, my excitement immediately died when I asked Professor Riley what they might be. Turns out they were spiders... and I am terrified of spiders. Luckily, she confirmed that they were not venomous, but I was still worried that I would find one crawling in my boot or on my person. I was surprised at their sheer number. They seemed to be everywhere!

I managed to not only retake pictures of plants I found, but found more. A few that were worth noting was this tree that had yellow puffs on it, a tree stump with some sort of fungus on it, and a plant that had a bunch of red, bead-like structures on top of it. I made sure to talk pictures of these and look forward to seeing if someone on iNaturalist will be able to identify them.

The boots came in handy when crossing deep waters. Although, I did come closer to having water go past the height of my boots a few times.

During my 15 min of silence, I was happy that there was more going on than last time. Besides the wind chilling my ears as it blasted by, there was only silence. This time, I could hear a cacophony of bird calls. I made sure to note the different variations in bird calls. The most notable traits I heard was the direction of pitch of each call and its rhythm. I wrote down my observations in my notebook and described the rhythms with music notation. I also made sure to compare the sounds to sounds I already know. For example, I described one bird call as sounding like a slide whistle with a descending pitch that was reminiscent of a "falling bomb" sound effect that is used in cartoons.

I also managed to spot my first bird on the farm and did try to record it. However, it flew around from branch to branch too fast for me to get close to capture it. With my eyes, I observed that it had a yellow-green belly with a grey main body that may or may not have been spotted. I hope to see it again next time to get better footage of it.

When I checked on the BioCube, I was disappointed to see that not much changed since last time. I still could not see any organisms around the cube besides the plants in it. I hoped to spot some bugs in the water, but there was none. I am crossing my fingers for the chance that next lab visit will show more insects in the water because it will be warmer and maybe more insects may appear.

Overall, my second visit to the farm was more productive than the first and provided me with more follow-up opportunities for the next visit.

Posted on April 18, 2019 03:19 by lduong lduong | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Hey where are your data points

I am looking for 20 from each person... Upload TODAY!

Posted on April 18, 2019 03:14 by lisapitts lisapitts | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Bio Lab Foxcroft Farms Week 2

When we arrived at the location of our biocube, we immediately noticed that it was destroyed beyond repair. With pieces missing and the bars mangled, it appeared as though some manner of creature took offense to its presence and viciously attacked it. That or a snapping turtle was curious and chewed on it for a bit. Although our Biocube did reach an unfortunate end, I still believe that the location in which it was placed was well-decided. As a continued exploration of the area (sans mutilated biocube) revealed a wide array of insects burrowed within the upper layers of mud in the small stream the larger swamp is connected to. We discovered these specimen by employing an age-old technique that has been developed and passed down for generations, poking the mud with a stick and hoping something happens. While we did this, we immediately noticed that bubbles began to arise from within the mud clouds, and we had hoped to see some frogs emerge from the mud. Unfortunately, said mud cloud obscured our view of anything that might have appeared and the only reason we even caught some insects was because one of my group mates was randomly moving a net in the water hoping to catch something. But, regardless of the inefficient and somewhat questionable techniques employed, our findings confirmed to our group that the swamp IS thriving with biodiversity, we just have to try harder to find it.

During our 15 minutes of silence, I sat on a fallen log and listened to the songs of various birds, some familiar and some not. The frog I was able to just faintly hear last week was absent, but while I was surveying the swamp in all it's glory I noticed a bird right in front of us! I immediately whispered-yelled to the groupmate closest to it to take a picture while I also did so. I had hoped that at least one of us could get a decent picture (as it was fairly far away), but this hope was soon dashed after we compared photos. Fortunately, my picture was just clear enough for the iNaturalist system to identify the bird as an Agelaius, which upon further investigation seems to be correct. In addition, near the conclusion of our lab period, my group and I were treated to the rare sight of a duck! I attempted to pursue the specimen on foot for a picture, but the terrain and the duck's superior speed worked against me and I was unsuccessful. Luckily another (or the same, both had grey bodies and a green head) duck passed by as we were about to leave and one of my groupmates was able to photograph it.

Posted on April 18, 2019 03:14 by lrhernandez lrhernandez | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Journal Week #2

This week, we went back to the Biocube that we placed in the deciduous forest last time. We had placed the Biocube in between two trees, one with moss growing on it and one with a type of fungus growing on it. When we went back, the Biocube looked the same and in the same place. Leaves were different, probably due to the wind blowing them around on the ground. Otherwise, not much change visibly occurred in that one week.
We began our second week with 15 minutes of reflection time. I sat on a fallen trunk, the same one I had sat at last time and looked out into the river with the beaver dam. This time, it was faster for my mind to settle and listen to the sounds around me than it was last time. I think last time, I had never done something like that in so long that my mind just did not know how to settle. This time, I was expecting it and more prepared. It was less windy out, so I was not as cold. I heard the water rushing from the little waterfall made from the pipe on one side of the beaver lodge. It was a slow rumble like rushing sound. I also heard this high pitched tweeting almost back and forth between two birds. I remember looking over to the sound and it was at a bush by the beaver lodge. There were two very small puffy yellow birds flying from branch to branch and communicating with each other. Then, a third yellow bird flew over and the three of them were fluttering around each other. Their bright yellow color was stunning. I watched as they called out to each other and just almost danced from branch to branch with each other. I had never seen a yellow bird before, so I thought that was really cool. I thought it was very calming to just look at the three birds flying around each other on the bush. I remember looking up at one point because I heard a very distinct bird call over and over again. It was a high pitched almost shrieking call. It was one long verse rather than multiple short repetitive calls. I watched as James reached for the binoculars, even though it was still our 15 minutes. We were both interested in the bird at hand. I took out my phone to take a video of it circling above us. It was dark colored with white wing and tail accents. It had a large wingspan. The bird's call was loud and unique, and we thought it could be some type of hawk. However, we still did not talk to keep the 15 minutes silence, even though we did move. The bird was very far up but I still got some good footage of it, although a little blurry.
After our 15 minutes, we went around our land area to see if we could find things we did not notice last week. One interesting thing I found was on the slope of the ground going down into the river was a very small hole, about the diameter size of my thumb. There was a leaf covering it and a stick inside it, but once I moved those out of the way, it was a very obvious purposeful hole that an animal definitely had dug. Peg told us it was likely a mole or vole but more likely a vole. A mole's hole would be more of a semi-circle shape and have messy dirt pile around the hole. The vole is more circular and there was no dirt around the hole. The hole was so small so I felt good about catching it with my eye. It was also crazy to think that this hole was evidence of voles, even though we did not see much life, there is so much going on in the deciduous forest we can only catch through footprints and holes, etc.
Another plant we came across was skunk cabbage. There was a whole area of skunk cabbage growing in a flat shallow dip in the ground. Some were green and just blooming from the ground while others were a deeper purple and higher up off the ground. They smelled for sure. We talked about how we had not seen that last time and how we could have missed such a vibrant purple plant color.
I also found three woodpecker holes on a fallen branch. Another fallen branch had more beaver teeth markings. I realized so many fallen branches we could see as just things in our way and having to step over, but if we look closer, there is so much to look at. A lot of fallen branches have mosses or fungi growing on them, some have beaver markings, some have bugs and even woodpecker holes. This made me realize that everything is important, even if it has fallen on to the ground. Sometimes the most abundant things we overlook, such as broken branches on the forest floor, can hold a lot of information.
As James pointed out, there were lots of different trees in the area we were at as well. One that stood out to me was the shagbark hickory, which was known through its right angle branches. I hadn't noticed them until someone pointed it out and then I realized how it was very different from the other trees around us. The right angle branches were actually very outstanding.
I am excited to go back tomorrow to see what other new things I can pick up on since the second week showed me there is still so much to see and hear.

Posted on April 18, 2019 02:52 by xjzhu xjzhu | 7 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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City Nature Challenge 2019

Hi Naturalists,
I want to encourage all of the participants in Plants and Animals of the Texas Panhandle Project to also take part in the City Nature Challenge Project. This is a global project which challenges cities across the globe to compete in the number of observations made within a 4 day period.
Amarillo is one of those cities, along with Austin, Dallas-Ft Worth, Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV). Last year, there were only 5 Texas cities competing. We finished above El Paso and LRGV. Corpus & San Antonio are new this year.
This year, in addition to overall global and state ranking of every city, the results will also be broken down by population and area. Since our population over 5 counties would put us at a disadvantage with larger metropolitan areas, this works in our favor by leveling the playing field somewhat.
The dates for this are April 26th to April 29th. You don’t have to join the project. You can make observations and they will automatically be pulled into the project if made in Potter, Randall, Carson, Armstrong and Hutchison counties. If you join the project, you will be able to see the observations and even identify species. Just go to Projects and type in City Nature Challenge 2019 and that’s it!
For those of you in Lubbock with the Plants on the Llano Estacado , bring some friends and come on up and join us in showing the rest of the state that there really is something to see out here!!
Feel free to message me if you have any questions.

Thanks and hope to see you out in the fields or your observations on inaturalist!
Joanne Toler
Aka -- jotol

Posted on April 18, 2019 02:51 by jotol jotol | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 27-Raptorthon 2019/Rockfish Gap Hawkwatch Fundraiser

From the Rockfish Gap Hawkwatch Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/rockfishgap/)


On April 27, 2019 the Rockfish Gap Hawkwatchers team (Vic Laubach, Gabriel Mapel, Baxter Beamer and Ezra Staengl) will conduct our 7th annual Raptorthon to raise funds to support our local Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch as well as HMANA’s work for raptor conservation, migration, and hawk watching in North America. This is our only fund-raising drive of the year. We’re hoping to beat our Raptorthon record of 122 total species! We hope that you can sponsor our team. It’s easy! You simply visit our Raptorthon page below and click on ‘Donate’. We'd greatly appreciate your help!

The Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch is located in Afton, VA along the Blue Ridge Mountains. A small group of volunteers cover the watch daily from mid-August through November; counting 25,100 migrating raptors each fall on average. Each of us are volunteer counters at Rockfish Gap, with Ezra being our youngest and newest counter at age 15. This will be Ezra’s first Raptorthon.

For our Raptorthon, we’ll be out from sunrise to sunset on an ambitious venture to all corners of Augusta County, VA. We’ll visit the Allegheny Mountains including Reddish Knob, the highest point at 4,400 ft, in search of crossbills, passerines, woodpeckers and raptors such as Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Broad-winged Hawk. In the Shenandoah Valley we’ll search for shorebirds and more passerines and raptors. We aim to end the day at sunset on the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of Woodcock and owls.

We’re hoping to beat our Raptorthon record of 122 total species! We hope that you can sponsor our team. It’s easy! You simply visit our Raptorthon page below and click on ‘Donate’. We'd greatly appreciate your help!

Wish us luck!
Vic, Gabriel, Baxter, and Ezra

Posted on April 18, 2019 02:30 by skylark7 skylark7 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Lab 2 Journal

Biology Lab 2 Journal
Scott Huang

-We kept the BioCube at the same location as before (half submerged in water, half in air, covered with branches) as we still believe that it serves as a good place to captures lots of different types of organisms. Also, it still looks well integrated with the pond and hasn’t moved since we last put it in.

-While looking through the BioCube this lab period, we still didn’t see any organisms move through it.

-This period, I heard much more birds around the area.

-Some birds actually flew on top of the trees in the vernal pool, though I couldn’t take any photos since there were still too far from where I was standing.

-I could hear many types of bird calls. Some were short and repeated a lot. Some lingered for a while.

-Also saw a duck/goose flying above our area but was really high into the sky.

-Also heard the sound of a plane pass by.

-Still heard some wind, though not as windy as before.

-Heard the sound of water flowing

-Heard some croaking of maybe a frog or fairy shrimp. Tried to find where the noise came from but couldn’t find it.

-Apparently (heard by Peg), the fairy shrimp do like to come out later in the day and will make tons of noise in the vernal pool. However, once you go close to the vernal pool, the fairy shrimp in that area will become quiet. As you walk down the vernal pool, the area you are nearest will become quiet while the other parts will still be loud. However, if you sit still for long enough, the fairy shrimp nearest you will start to make sound again.

-Still heard a mechanical roar in the distance.

-Heard the crunch of the hay below my feet as I walked / other people walked.

-Since I don’t have tall boots and I think there is more diversity of organisms on the other side of the vernal pool, I always need to find a place in the pool where the pool is less wide. That way I can more easily jump to the other side without getting wet. This area is usually closer to the forests than to the farm house. Though everytime I jump, I still get some water entering one of my boots (a pair of Timberlands that reach to the top of my ankles).

-This time, I was more careful with walking on top of the sheet hay, as I found out from last lab that as you walk towards the vernal pool, while it may look like there’s a solid area of ground with hay on top, as you stand longer on that area, you start sinking into some water. This caused for my feet to get more wet than I expected last lab. Thus, I always made sure that wherever I stood for long was far away enough from the pool.

-This time, I was much more focused on seeing the different species of plants and less worried about trying to find moving organisms.

-This time I could more easily see the small spiders running over the ground of hay. I tried to grab one and killed it by accident. It was about one sixth the size of my fingertip, making it really hard to take a clear picture of. Spiders still tried to burrow back into the hay once you got too close to them.

-Group tried digging through some of the vernal pool but mostly only found different types of spiders. Using the net mostly caught algae and detritus.

-Apparently the water spiders might be attracted to the color black, with one of our group members with black boots seeing spiders naturally come to her.

-Water was still pretty cold. There were still solid chunks of ice floating on top of some points of the vernal pool. This looked cool, as when you picked up the ice, there would also be lots of algae stuck to it.

-Saws some bulges within some of the stems of plants, with Peg told me that it was actually caused by insects / it was a disease (i think but I don’t entirely remember).

-Saw a weird nest-like structure on top of a plant, which could have possibly been the nest of a insect. Had lots of layers to it and had a pale-yellow color.

-While walking along the vernal pool, I got constantly pricked by the thorns that grew from some of the plants. It was very annoying trying to get those thorns unstuck to my clothes and made me jump over those specific plants as the day went on.

-This time, I paid much more attention to the quality of the images taken and tried to make sure most of the images were crisp.

-Using the white cardboard paper as a backdrop really helped with making clearer pictures. Before, my camera would constantly have its focus be on other plants in the background and not the plant that I had placed in the foreground.

-Sometimes, when I was too far away from the white piece of paper, I simply put my hand behind the plant, which also had the same effect of eliminating the focus on background items.

-Since it was a much warmer and less windy day than the previous lab, it was much easier to roam around the vernal pool and actually focus more on the environment and ecology, since its kinda hard to take good photos of plants when you are shivering. When I talk about roam, I actually could try to go into densely packed areas of tree branches to see if I could find more diversity within our ecosystem.

-Most of the diversity within our ecosystem comes from plants so far. I really do wish we could spot a tadpole/salamander during our next lab.

Posted on April 18, 2019 02:13 by syhuang syhuang | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Hey everyone, congrats !

The Pest Quest is going ardent !!!!

We went from 57 observations on Monday to more than a hundred today Thursday !!

You guys are doing a great job helping us identifying and removing the moth plant ! Thanks for your motivation and devotion

We encourage you to remove the weeds and collect the pods so that it will prevent it from spreading :)

We invite you to spread the app around you : show it to your family, your friend or run the competition as a team by sending an email to agathe@ecomatters.org.nz with your team username.

Together we are stronger,

EcoMatters Environment Trust

Posted on April 18, 2019 02:11 by agathelmn agathelmn | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Journal Entry 1 Foxcroft Farm

Environment Observations-
As we arrived to Foxcroft farm for our second day of the lab, the sun just barely raised over the trees. As we entered the clearing through the woods to the swamp, my eyes first drew down to the grown. There was dead plant matter and a layer of thick wet mud layering the ground. Popping out of the ground all over the place were thick green leaves. Each plant wasn’t taller than six inches and had roughly two large bright green leaves. Some of the plants had bright purple lumps under the leaves that resembled garlic cloves. Then, we walked further into the swamp. There was a thin layer of ice coating the shallow ends of the swamp. As I looked closer towards the water, I noticed a tiny moth fluttering around. It was pure white and about the size of a peanut. The moth would flutter every few seconds, as it seemed to be stuck to the ice. I sat on a fallen down log for my fifteen minutes of silence. The log was covered in a green moss. The moss was fuzzy to the touch and was brown at the base, but the top was bright green. At the top of the moss, each green sprout shot out and made a star-like pattern. As I looked down at the base of the swamp, there was dead grass completely covering the floor. The grass was very long and each was a very thick blade that looked like straw. There were mounds of the dead grass piled together where small green blades of grass were sprouting. As I sat in silence, I could hear the wind blow the branches of the trees and blades of the dead grass. There was a sudden “flap flap” and then a faint splash of water. I looked to my left and saw a duck floating in the water. It had a green head and a gray body. It swam in circles until my group member starting walking and crunching through the dead grass. The duck quickly scattered and flew away.
Biocube Observations-
We entered the swamp located on the farm and went to the spot were we placed our biocube. There was a very thin frozen layer of ice covering the small shallow waters and our biocube was frozen and submerged. However, upon closer examination, it was not just under water but also broken into pieces. Our biocube was completely disassembled. At first, we thought it was just poorly made. However, each of the poles that formed the cube were bent to now make an elbow macaroni shape. In the very middle of the pole, where the bending was occurring, the green paint was chipped away. It look as if some animal attacked the cube and has taken several bites out of it. We hypothesized that it could have been a snapping turtle that either thought the cube was food or attacked the cube for being in its territory.

Posted on April 18, 2019 01:02 by ecarleton ecarleton | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Don't Forget to Send Us Your Mailing Address!

Hey everyone! As we wrap up another day of observations, we at BioBlitz want to remind everyone that if you've posted any number of observations to our project— even one—you're eligible for registry into the Fall 2019 BioBlitz! Feel free to send us your mailing address so we can send you your hard-earned sticker! This is eligible to all participants, and not just those who've completed a challenge. You've earned it!

Robert Gibson
Spring Virtual BioBlitz! OK 2019 Staff

Posted on April 18, 2019 00:39 by gibsonr041 gibsonr041 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Photos: Bat Appreciation Day.

April 17 is national Bat Appreciation Day. Bats are often misunderstood creatures, so we reached out to Mary Jean "Corky" Quirk of Northern California Bats Rescue and Education. Quirk delivers presentations about Napa County bats each October at the Carolyn Parr Nature Center in Napa, and she shared some bat fun facts to mark this April holiday.


Posted on April 17, 2019 23:58 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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2 More Whales Found Dead in San Francisco Bay Area.

Authorities say two dead whales have washed ashore in the San Francisco Bay Area, making five whales that have been found dead in the area in a month.


Posted on April 17, 2019 23:54 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Earth Day nature challenge: Scour L.A. for as many bugs, flowers, critters as you can find.

This year there’s a lot more competition. Between April 26 and 29, citizen scientists (people like you and me) in Tokyo, London, Nairobi and 150 other cities around the world will compete in the 2019 challenge.


Posted on April 17, 2019 23:51 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Earth Day nature challenge: Scour L.A. for as many bugs, flowers, critters as you can find.

This year there’s a lot more competition. Between April 26 and 29, citizen scientists (people like you and me) in Tokyo, London, Nairobi and 150 other cities around the world will compete in the 2019 challenge.


Posted on April 17, 2019 23:51 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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California's Top Wildlife Officials Vote to Oppose Trump's War on Wolves.

SANTA MONICA, Calif.— The California Fish and Game Commission today voted to formally oppose the Trump administration’s proposal to end federal wolf protection across the country.


Posted on April 17, 2019 23:45 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

City Nature Challenge 2019

Hi Everyone,

Wanted to let you all know that City Nature Challenge is happening this year, April 26-May 5, 2019! Since 2016, this challenge has grown to over 150 internationally competing cities. You can see the full list of cities here: http://citynaturechallenge.org/ This is Northern Colorado’s first time participating in the event and we would love to see the community discover nature in our area!

I’ve tagged you in this journal post because you’re either: (1) a top observer from the Fort Collins and Larimer County Boundary, and/or (2) a top identifier in the area or surrounding over the last year or so. We’re really hoping you’ll participate in this year’s City Nature Challenge. Getting observations from as many people as we can is important, however, it’s top iNat observers like you that will really push us ahead in the number of observations made and especially the number of species found in the Northern Colorado area.

As an incentive, we are offering our top observer the chance to win a free Garden in a Box! For more information, visit our website: https://www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/city-nature-challenge
The easiest way to join in is to just make as many observations of as many species as possible during April 26-29. Helping with IDs will also increase our species number, so that’s a great way to help out as well.

On Tuesday, April 30 we are hosting a free lunch and ID party from 11-1 pm at our Natural Areas campus. If anyone is interested in joining us to help identify observations, then please login to https://engage.fcgov.com to sign up. And of course, spread the word! City Nature Challenge 2019: Northern Colorado iNaturalist project:

The details: the CNC runs from 12:01 AM on Friday, 4/26 to 11:59 PM on Monday, 4/29. We're announcing results on Monday, 5/6, so try to get all your observations uploaded by then! Also, the more observations we can get identified down to species by then, the higher our species number will be.

Please feel free to ask questions, etc. in the comments – and definitely add others to this journal post via tagging them in the comments!

@dduff @joshuagsmith @john8 @paloma @aguilita @greglasley @jackerfield @maxallen @nlblock @mikepatterson @texaskingbird @vantruan @maractwin @maxkirsch @benmcclellan @brandonwoo @tonnessen @johnascher @psweet @bugman1388 @austinlep5288 @mike_hofmann @arrowheadspiketail58 @kevinhintsa @rojosmojo @mlodinow @ericwilliams @bronte2 @msieges @forester93 @jimjohnson @melimez @d_kluza @bug_eric @lincolndurey @wouterteunissen @kleric42 @mark67 @silversea_starsong @mmwebb @owlentine @timbir5 @mjeklass @joed @crontl72 @aplodontia @dailyentomologist @sammid @lnixon001 @jpm58 @suzanne11 @timothyweinmann @okail @alliepetersen @cjhelm295 @pedro9 @sarahgrace2 @franciscommercon @tubanjosh @mackenzie8 @austinhess

Posted on April 17, 2019 23:30 by natureinthecity natureinthecity | 0 comments | Leave a comment

BioCube Week 2 Observations

Ecosystem Assigned: Wetland Vernal Pool

Physical Description of BioCube Placement:
The BioCube was originally moved from where we placed it in one of the smaller pools. The place where we originally placed our Cube has been taken by the vernal pool team from Tuesday’s lab group. Our BioCube now situates an area further up north in one of the bigger pools that we thought would have more biodiversity. It is near the base of a tree/plant with sturdy branches and roots in the water. There are a lot of branches and leaves in the BioCube, as well as other plant species. It was also placed in a location where we believed it would receive equal amounts of shade and sunlight, which would therefore attract a more diverse number of organisms to the BioCube.

Description of What’s Happening in BioCube (organisms found, anything changed, etc):
We placed the BioCube in the place that we did last week, and this time when we came back we did not see anything noticeable change. The BioCube still contains a variety of branches, plants, and leaves. However, there were no insects or amphibians as our research had led us to believe. However, it is possible that although there was nothing in the BioCube when we go there, organisms have been in the BioCube but have left. Some insects, as I have observed, move very quickly in the wetland vernal pool ecosystem. It is also possible that we have not seen anything because the temperature is still low and the weather is not ideal for these organisms to come out from their hiding places. Eventually, we will dig up the BioCube and take the sample of plants and mud back with us to the lab for further examination and analysis. Hopefully, this will tell us more about the real estimation of biodiversity in the vernal pool.

Description of What’s Happening in the Ecosystem/Nearby:
Nothing has changed much from when we came to the vernal pool last week. However, what was noticeable was that the weather was much more warmer, and this time we were able to capture a larger diversity of organisms. Also, we observed that the water level has risen by at least a centimeter, most likely due to the recent rainfall and the transition into spring. Some of the pools that had looked smaller last week look bigger now because more water has filled up the ponds. Instead of there being two small pools, there now seems to be several larger pools all connected by thin, narrow streams of water between them. Although the risen water level made navigating the pool more difficult, it gave us more places to explore and will hopefully reveal more biodiversity as well.

Organisms Found in Vernal Pool:
Unlike last time, when the weather was no ideal for field work in the wetland vernal pools (the ponds weren’t even really filled at the point), we found a lot more organisms. For instance, here are some organisms we found (generally speaking)
- We saw some of the same plants from last time, but for instance, the goat willows now sport yellow catkins rather than just white.
- We found the remains of dead plants, that were dried up, but we had not encountered them last time so we put some in our Tupperware to take back for more analysis.
Saw several kinds of insects flying around, but a lot of time they did not land and they moved too quickly to take a close and detailed picture.
- We found several spiders, but we were unsure if they were the same species of spiders. One spider we caught in a Tupperware container was almost the size of a quarter, dark in color with white circle/dots on its back. We also found two smaller spider (not sure if they are the same species as the first big one), who had hairy legs and lighter coloring on its back (surrounded by darker colors).
- We found several bugs (both small and big) that were dark and possessed hard shells. They curled up (bringing in their legs) when we moved them too much. Perhaps this is a defense mechanism because by curling up they are protecting themselves using their hard shell.
- Beyond that, there seem to be even more plants and algae in the vernal pool. We had to dig deep and slice through the plants under the water to get to the mud. Sometimes it was hard to pull the plants because they seem to have adapted to living in the pool, and can therefore utilize the resources in the ecosystem to survive and advance. Their hard roots made them hard to remove, and many times we had to pull hard to get them out of the water.

15 Minutes of Silence:
Due to the lack of high wind, I was able to hear a lot more activity this time. There was the constant sound of birds in the back, a lot of which came from the deciduous forest and coniferous forest ecosystem area. A lot of times there were different bird sounds; sometimes they would all chirp at once and other times it sounded almost like they took turns. Therefore, I was exposed to a lot of different bird calls. I heard the wind rustling the grass, flapping of birds that flew overhead, the crunch of the grass as my group members walked around, the rippling of the water, the branches rustling, and other human activity in the direction of the swamp area.

Other Observations:
I noticed that while I was trying to find organisms in the water, there were not a lot on the surface of the water that you can see right away. I believe that the best way to catch specimen in this ecosystem is to stay still. Often times when I stayed still and didn’t move, flying insects would come near the pool and I could see them. They never landed (just continued to fly around), so I could not take detailed pictures. Other times I waded into the pool and situated myself in different areas and waited. Sometimes, insects like spiders and beetles would naturally be attracted to the color of my black rain boots and come towards me. This was how I manage to collect most of my insect specimen this time. Other times I had to dig around in the mud and push aside all the plants so that new organisms would either come to the surface or I would move something that would reveal their location. I also believe that a lot more biodiversity is present because often I would spot movement (such as insects flying) but they would disappear so quickly that I could not catch them/take pictures.

What to Do For Next Time:
I hope that next week the weather will be even warmer. I believe that rising water levels and better weather will make some of the organisms more willing to come out so we can either take pictures or collect them as samples. Although the second week yield more results compared to the first week, it was still lacking. Perhaps we can even see some tadpoles! Wetland vernal pools contain a lot of biodiversity, and we’ve barely scratched the surface because of constraints like weather, wind, the overgrowing plants, and the lack of tools for better digging.
One thing I definitely want to do is get better tools, perhaps a sharper knife/shovel, in order to cut through the thick foliage of plants at the bottom of the pool. The plants are strong and require sharp tools or more power in order to rip them out from the mud. By doing this, it makes it easier to access the mud at the bottom of the pool, which is where a lot of organisms are hiding. I was afraid to dig really deeply because I didn’t want to destroy any habitats or harm any organisms, but I believe that digging deeper will reveal more species.

Posted on April 17, 2019 23:07 by hzheng22 hzheng22 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Enjoying the Sounds of Nature

I really appreciated lab this past week. It was really amazing leaving the business and chaos of campus and being in nature for a prolonged period of time. I found this week, especially, that the farm was really peaceful and full of life. During the quiet time I heard frogs ribbiting and multiple different species of birds singing. It was cool to sit out in nature and really hear the communication between animals.
When we got to our BioCube we found that the water level in the stream was elevated compared to the week before. We had left the cube sticking half out of the water, but when we returned it was completely submerged. We observed the cube for a while, trying to find any organisms we could catch or plants we could take pictures of, but ultimately found that it would be a good idea to move the cube. Our initial placement was not allowing us to observe the diversity within the cube. We moved the cube across the stream and placed it where more visible life was. One of my group mates took the cloth net and grazed the water with it, ultimately catching multiple bugs. One bug had an ovular body, with a triangle head. Sticking out of its sides were two long leg-like structures it seemed to clap together while it swam. It also had a green tint to its structure. We also found a small, brown, hairy spider that seemed to thrive on the water, as its legs would quickly move back and forth to swim. Perhaps one of my favorite findings was the cattails. We found two different cattails, possibly at different stages of development, but also possibly half eaten by an animal. One of the tops of the cattail was almost ripped up, exposing the fluffy material underneath. The other had had most of its top eaten or blown off. There was also a tree right by the stream with small pine cone-like seeds on its branches. The branches were skinny and light grey, and the pine cones were a reddish-brown color and were littered all over the ground near the base of the tree. Along the river we found some moss, with dark brown and light green gametophytes forming the bed. Last week we had found skunk cabbage lining the stream, with a purple-pink cone like structure. This week we found a skunk cabbage at possibly a different stage of development. It was primarily composed of a slight bundle of a large, green, veiny leaf. It had a very pungent odor, reminiscent of skunk. We also found a branch-like plant. The stalk was brown, almost bark-like but very thin. The top of the plant split the stalk into many different stalks, all with little bundles at the end. We pulled out a low-lying green plant that was half submerged in the stream. The plant was very waxy, and the main stalk, white in color, split into three green leaves. We found a very small, larvae-like bug. It was extremely small, with a yellowish transparent color. It had many legs and would curl up on its self. Amongst all of the plants and bugs was also a very large amount of plant detritus. There were large leaves that had fallen off of nearby trees. There were also brown, flat, thin bark-like stalks everywhere. While I was not completely sure, they seemed dead.
More than last week, I found the moment of silence to be very special. I was able to listen closely to the nature surrounding me. I was even able to distinguish between different bird calls. One was a more consistent, high-pitched song, while another was much more inconsistent and had a lower tone. Even just hearing the rustling of the branches and leaves in the wind put my mind to ease. While the stream is not particularly fast-flowing, the moment of silence enabled me to hear the quiet bubbling and swaying of the stream. My group really enjoyed exploring the stream this week. We were able to walk along the stream a bit more than last week and could find more diversity than we had before. We even found a glass bottle in the soil by the stream. While at first the stream seemed hard to analyze, I have found that it is really fun catching bugs and really observing the wildlife within the area. I especially enjoy photographing the various plants on the edge of the water.

Posted on April 17, 2019 22:56 by hgarth hgarth | 10 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Manhattan City Nature Challenge events -- maybe more to come!

FRIDAY April 26

Carl Schurz Park -- City Nature Challenge -- Part 1
Date: Friday, April 26th, 2019
Time: 9a-12p
Hosts: "iNat Power User" Susan Hewitt, and the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy
Location: Carl Schurz Park, meet at East End Ave at 86th Street.
Description: Have fun and help the Conservancy record nature. Make as many observations in this gorgeous park as you can! Please mark planted things "captive" or "not wild". Also look for weeds, birds, bugs, fungi, lichens; it's all good!
RSVP: None needed -- but you can ask @susanhewitt for more details if you like.

City Nature Challenge: Observation Quest
Date: Friday, April 26, 2019
Time: 10a-12p
Host: @datha
Location: Verdi Square, meet at 73rd and Amsterdam
Description: Join fellow iNaturalists at Verdi Square. Get a chance to meet our top observer from last year's NYC CNC - @datha!
RSVP: none needed


City Nature Challenge on Randall's Island
Date: Saturday, April 27, 2019
Time: 10a-1p
Host: Randall's Island Park Alliance
Location: Meet at the north end of Icahn Stadium (10 Central Rd, Randall’s Island, NY 10035)
Description: Join naturalists on Randall’s Island as we comb through this 430-acre landmark park documenting plant and animal species. We’ll cover restored natural areas, vibrant horticultural gardens, fields, forests, and more. All of our observations will help NYC in competing against cities from around the world and perhaps best of all, help us better understand the unique biodiversity of Randall’s Island and NYC as a whole. For those who are interested, we will seine in the Harlem River from 1-3pm looking for marine organisms both along the beach and in the water.
RSVP:None needed.

Lower East Side Ecology Center Meet Up at East River Park
Date: Saturday, April 27, 2019
Time: 10a-2p
Host: Lower East Side Ecology Center
Location: Meet at the Fire Boat House (the brick building located inside East River Park at Grand St)
Description:Join fellow iNaturalists and members of the Lower East Side Ecology center for an exploration of East River Park. Get a chance to meet our top species finder from last year's NYC CNC - @craghorne!
RSVP: None needed.

Washington Square Park Spring Flowers
Date: Saturday, April 27, 2019
Time: 11a-1p
Host: WSP Eco Projects
Location: Meet at the Thompson St. entrance to Washington Square Park
Description:Open flowers are a sure sign of spring. Help us record what spring looks like in Washington Square Park. Photograph the trees and other plants in bloom in the park. Contact hello@wspecoprojects with any questions.
RSVP:None needed.

City Nature Challenge: Biodiversity Blitz
Date: Saturday, April 27, 2019
Time: 11a-12:30p
Host: Urban Park Rangers
Location: Dana Discovery Center, north end of Central Park
Description: Join the Urban Park Rangers for a walk through the North Woods and nearby areas of Central Park.
RSVP: None needed. For more info: https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2019/04/27/city-nature-challenge-biodiversity-blitz

SUNDAY April 28

John Jay Park -- City Nature Challenge
Date: Sunday, April 28th, 2019
Time: 9a-11a
Host: "iNat Power User" Susan Hewitt
Location: John Jay Park, Between 77th and 78th Streets, east of York Ave. Meet at the 77th Street entrance on Cherokee Place.
Description:Have fun! Surprise yourself with how much you can find in, and near, this much-loved small park. (Please mark planted things "cultivated" or "not wild".)
RSVP: None needed -- but you can ask @susanhewitt for more details if you like.

City Nature Challenge: Biodiversity Blitz
Date: Sunday, April 28, 2019
Time: 11a-12:30p
Host: Urban Park Rangers
Location: Inwood Hill Park, meet at Payson Center (Dyckman St and Henshaw St)
Description: Join the Urban Park Rangers for a exploration of Inwood Hill Park.
RSVP:None needed. For more info: https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2019/04/28/city-nature-challenge-biodiversity-blitz

MONDAY April 29

Carl Schurz Park -- City Nature Challenge -- Part 2
Date: Monday, April 29th, 2019
Time: 9a-12p
Hosts: "Power iNat User" Susan Hewitt and the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy
Location: Carl Schurz Park, meet at East End Ave at 86th Street.
Description: Have fun and help CSPS record nature. Create as many observations in this gorgeous park as you can! (Mark planted things "captive" or "not wild".) Let's try to look for all the organisms (both large and small) that we missed the first time around!
RSVP: None needed -- but you can ask @susanhewitt for more details if you like, or get her phone number in case you run late.

Upper East Side Streets -- City Nature Challenge
Date: Monday, April 29th, 2019
Time: 3p-5p
Host: Susan Hewitt "Power iNat User"
Location: 77th Street at 1st Avenue
Description: Discover just how much nature you can find on the streets of Manhattan. (Please mark planted things "captive" or "not wild".)
RSVP: None needed -- but you can ask @susanhewitt for more details if you like -- and ask for her phone number if you might run late.

Posted on April 17, 2019 22:08 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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2019 Border BioBlitz | BioBlitz de la Frontera Results

The 2019 Border Bioblitz was a success, and even more than that is was fun to be a part of.

A few quick stats from the project homepage
• 17,138 Observations
• 2,588 Species
• 1,291 Observers


Thank you to everyone who participated in the event. This data will be very helpful to those researching the flora and fauna along the shared lands of the border.

Posted on April 17, 2019 21:47 by finatic finatic | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Getting ready for the City Nature Challenge?

Anyone reading this who lives in, or visits, NYC, and who would like some more detailed pointers for what to do and how to do it during the days of the City Nature Challenge, please feel free contact me.

There are, conveniently, two weekdays and two weekend days we can use, so there is time available when anyone can make observations, no matter how busy they are.

1. Photograph anything and everything that is alive, except for pets, zoo animals, indoor plants and people.

2. Anything that was, or is, planted by people, is OK to record but please mark it "captive" or "not wild".

3. In order to rack up good numbers, please do photograph multiple different examples of the common species, as many as you can. Every pigeon counts. Every dandelion counts. 100 pigeons and 100 dandelions makes 200 observations!

4. Street trees are fine to record, however, with trees in general, so we can ID them OK, please try to photograph the overall shape, the bark, a twig so we can see if the buds are opposite or alternate, and a leaf or flower if available. But if you can't do that, and the tree is distinctive, just do the best you can.

5. You can photograph things when you are in a taxi -- see the first four images here. You can photograph things through the window where you live or work. You find plenty of things to photograph as you walk down the sidewalk including small weeds of all kinds in tree pits and planters. If you have the app open, it only takes a second to take a photo, and hit "Share".

6. Perhaps most important of all -- it does *not* matter if you don't know what something is. You can mark it "plant" or "bird", or simply *Share* it even with no ID at all! That is fine.

Good luck to everyone!


Posted on April 17, 2019 20:55 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 4 observations | 1 comments | Leave a comment