By surveying your schoolyard and participating in a bioblitz, your school's educators and students are provided with a great way to connect with science and nature. Below are resources that educators may use to help their students, and themselves, feel more comfortable in nature, and be prepared to participate in community science.
WHAT IS COMMUNITY SCIENCE?
Community Science is when members of the public team up with scientists to help answer research questions. At NHMLA our community scientists help us by sharing their digital photos of wildlife so that our scientists can better understand what types of wildlife currently live in Southern California.
WHAT IS A BIOBLITZ?
A bioblitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many wildlife species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN A BIOBLITZ
STEP 1: Discover wildlife
Investigate the incredible nature all around L.A., in backyards, schools, and in neighborhoods by looking high and low, under rocks, and closely at flowers. You'll discover the wildlife that is all around you!
STEP 2: Record what you see
Take digital photos with a tablet, smartphone, or digital camera. Your photo is the evidence that you saw that animal at a specific location on a specific date/time.
STEP 3: Submit your findings
Upload your photos to iNaturalist. This social media platform connects the public to scientists, and turns your photos into data points. Have questions on how to use iNaturalist? Check out their Help section and their Teacher's Guide.
STEP 4: Explore the data
Download the data from the bioblitz so you (and your students) can learn what animals were commonly seen, which animals were rarely seen, to compare what was observed at different schools, and to help you ask questions.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR STUDENTS FOR A BIOBLITZ
Step 1: Scope the schoolyard
Before the bioblitz event, walk around your schoolyard and observe what wildlife you are able to see. Remember that not all students are comfortable with wildlife, or with getting dirty. Exploring nature should be fun, and respecting the comfort levels of your students will help them gain more confidence and be willing to explore more over time.
We also suggest that you, as the educator, walk around the schoolyard before taking your students out. This way you can see what path to take, what things you may want to point out, and what things you may want to avoid. You will feel more confident if you do a walk through by yourself or with your fellow educators.
To help you and your students “put your nature eyes on” try the following activities:
· Memory mapping
· Nature journaling
· Nature walk
· Photography practice
· Using the Outdoor Classroom
· NHMLA's "For Teachers" website
· NHMLA's Frequently Used Resources for Teachers
Step 2: Practice using iNaturalist
Practice using the iNaturalist app to take photos and to add observations. Try using all of the app features such as the “explore” button and the “activity” button. iNaturalist is a free app available on Android and Apple devices.