The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife has an important message for NRA Families currently under quarantine: The outdoors is still open! If you live in Oklahoma and would like to stay connected to your fellow outdoors adventurers, you'll love the Virtual Spring BioBlitz! Hosted by the Oklahoma Biological Survey, this annual event helps capture nature sightings...and that's always good news for wildlife biologists. It's also a great way to help teach wildlife identification, plant identification, conservation and more scientific theories to the kids who being homeschooled right now (or, indeed, who always were).
Participating in the Virtual Spring BioBlitz! project is free of charge. Here's how to do it. Start by setting up a free iNaturalist account and join the Virtual Spring BioBlitz! Oklahoma 2020 project. Observations made within Oklahoma's borders between April 1 and April 30 can be added to the project. The steps needed to make an observation with your iPhone or Android or via the web are explained in an easy-to-follow iNaturalist guide. Photos or sound clips can be uploaded to observations along with basic information about the date and location (which can be obscured from the public for privacy) of the sighting. Observations of unknown organisms can also be shared and the iNaturalist community can suggest identifications.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. We are stuck at home unable to go to school, work, or even the playground. But one thing we can do is go outside and enjoy the natural beauty around us,” said Priscilla Crawford, BioBlitz! OK Coordinator. “You can make observations in your backyard, on your neighborhood walks, or while you are waiting for your grocery pick-up. We are going to make this year extra fun – full of challenges and prizes!”
Yes, that's right--top observers will be awarded prizes, and challenges will be posted throughout the month with opportunities to compete with your fellow outdoors enthusiasts. This will be the fifth Virtual Spring BioBlitz! hosted by the Oklahoma Biological Survey. During last year’s month-long event 12,714 observations of 2,016 plant and animal species were made by 719 outdoor enthusiasts and citizen scientists. Get more information about the event and learn about upcoming challenges by following @BioBlitzOklahoma on Facebook. Happy (virtual) hunting!
Pictured above: Canada goose captured by BioBlitz! observer on April 1