FNJP participants, the following note is is from our good friend Dr. Lena Struwe:
Dear all, it is that time of year again! Spring is coming and with it, the annual Personal Bioblitz.
Each year we run a global biodiversity exploration project here at Rutgers named the Personal Bioblitz, which is a challenge and collaboration to find as many species as possible during 2.5 months – wherever you are, any time of the day, and from beginner to expert level. This is your invite to join in! Remember, you can report as much or as little as you want, it is completely up to you, but every observation and species counts towards our total. You can do all or part of the time, from March 1 to May 15, 24/7 or whenever you want.
We use iNaturalist, a global community website to gather all your observations and people around the world will help you identify what you see and you can help others too (if you want). You do not need to know any species to participate, and you will learn new species as you go along. The attached flyer will give you more information and links, and our website is https://herbarium.rutgers.edu/personal-bioblitz/ (with more specific 2022 info here https://herbarium.rutgers.edu/personal-bioblitz/spring-2022.html.
This is purely for fun and for the science and exploration of everyday biodiversity. You can invite your friends and family, students and collaborators, or others, wherever they are in the world. You can have a joint team with your younger children (under a single account name, supervised by an adult).
You can upload any wild and naturalized species you have seen from your smartphone or your computer. Small or large species, fuzzy or green, microscopic or giant, slimy or scaly – anything counts (but not your dog, or other pets or obviously cultivated plants; specific rules are on our website). You need to have a free iNaturalist account, and then join the project on iNaturalist (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/personal-bioblitz-2022). There is a great guide on iNaturalist if you have never used it before (https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started)
All reported observations on iNaturalist gets automatically added to various projects for future or current scientific research and bioexploration and engagement projects. For example, everything seen in New Jersey gets added to the mega project New Jersey Biodiversity (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/new-jersey-biodiversity-all-organisms, currently at 900 000+ observations) to create a species list for the state, and everything seen at Rutgers gets added to the project Flora and Fauna of Rutgers University (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flora-and-fauna-of-rutgers-university-nj-usa), where you can compare statistics from campuses and non-campus areas such as NJAES farms and research stations. (And note that Newark Campus is currently in the lead for most observations, they passed Cook/Douglass Campus recently! )
You can join the Personal Bioblitz mailing list and the Facebook group if you want to get updates (links in the attached flyer). If you want to see who is in the lead for observations and what species is reported the most, that is on the iNaturalist project page and updated daily. We are trying to break the record of species and observations we set in 2021. Are you in?
See you outdoors, or wherever there are living wild things!
Director, Chrysler Herbarium, SEBS/Rutgers Univ.