Calling All Citizen Scientists!

Pictures taken at Ashland Nature Center by Ed Crew

Shots in arms….Masks coming off…things are beginning to get back to “normal” … summer is right around the corner and you are itching to get outside. Well Delaware Nature Society wants to put that pent up energy to use and is prepared to offer a reward!

 In February of 2019, Delaware Nature Society created a project on iNaturalist.org called Ashland Nature Center Biodiversity with the goal of determining the health and breadth of biodiversity within the nature preserve. For those that are unfamiliar with iNaturalist.org, it is an online app and website that is used to record your nature observations for fun and is often used for research purposes. For more details about iNaturalist.org, the Frequently Asked Questions Guide has all the details you need to get involved and learn more about the natural world.

This map from iNaturalist represents the outline of Ashland Nature Center. Each red dot is one of the 1,119 observations that has been recorded for the Ashland Nature Center Biodiversity project since its creation.

In the two years since launching the project, 144 observers have recorded 427 different species, including mammals, birds, plants, mollusks, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and spiders. But what is out there that has not been recorded yet?  

To get closer to answering that question, DelNature wants more people to get outside, explore and expand their understanding of the diversity of life at Ashland Nature Center. The Master Naturalist program encourages people to document their findings! Take pictures at Ashland and then submit them to the iNaturalist Ashland Nature Center Biodiversity project.

To inspire more findings, Ashland is organizing a contest. And it would not be a contest without prizes. During the months of June, July, and August, record as many observations as you can that achieve RESEARCH GRADE in iNaturalist. RESEARCH GRADE is achieved when the observation you submitted is affirmed by another iNaturalist user (details on RESEARCH GRADE can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions Guide). The observer with the most RESEARCH GRADE observations at Ashland Nature Center at the end of each month will receive a prize. The observer with the most RESEARCH GRADE observations for the three months in total will receive an additional prize.

We ask that no specimens be disturbed or removed from Ashland at any time. Best of luck to all observers and please observe the rules at Ashland and always respecting the flora and fauna.

Now pick up your old point and shoot camera, your smart phone, or your Nikon D500 and go explore Ashland.

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