The Friends of Land Between the Lakes and Murray State University’s Watershed Studies Institute have partnered once again to present a Spring BioBlitz now through May 31st. Woodlands Nature Station interpreter Marissa Lindstrom speaks with Tracy Ross about the family-friendly, socially distanced project.
The LBL BioBlitz is a citizens’ science project in which community members document flora and fauna found in Land Between the Lakes via the iNaturalist app. No former experience is necessary. “All you need is a smartphone or camera…to take pictures and document whatever you’re finding,” Lindstrom says. “You upload your images of whatever you found. You don’t even need to know what the item is. You can put it in as ‘unknown,’ and someone else can identify it for you based off the picture. Or, if you know what it is, you can go ahead and identify it yourself.”
Data compiled by the community will be used by the LBL and the MSU Watershed Studies Institute “to draw from different research projects and materials, spark new ideas of projects that can be done, and help us make informed decisions about land use,” Lindstrom explains. “[The data] also informs us of any new species that might be here in Land Between the Lakes that we have not seen before or any invasive species that have arrived.”
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“We encourage citizens, college students, families, grandparents, whoever, to come out to Land Between the Lakes and explore and see what kind of wildlife they can find. That can be any kind of flowers, plants, fungi, shrooms, or any kind of animals,” she continues.
To participate in the BioBlitz, download iNaturalist from the app store. Create a free account, and search and join ‘Land Between the Lakes Spring BioBlitz Project.’ “It’s very easy to do,” Lindstrom says. “From there, head on out to LBL and start BioBlitzing, taking those pictures and uploading them to the project. The only thing you need is a good data cell signal or wifi. You might have to upload later.”
The BioBlitz runs now through May 31st. Community members can participate anywhere in Land Between the Lakes and at any time of day. “Our last BioBlitz project was a wild success, and we’re really excited to do it again this spring. There are so many wonderful spring things you can find out here in Land Between the Lakes.”
“Our last BioBlitz project…had almost 2,000 observations, over 750 species, and almost 100 participants. We would love to blow those records out of the water and get even more people to join us as we document all the wildlife that can be found here,” Lindstrom concludes.
More information on the Spring BioBlitz, including the 1,364 observations and 469 species logged thus far, can be found on the iNaturalist website. For more information on the Woodlands Nature Station or the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, visit their website.
(This story first ran on WKMS, the public radio station at Murray State University.)