The Nature Play QLD BioBlitz project is a perfect way to have your class, group or school involved in a citizen science project. It gives the kids autonomy to learn and explore and the chance to come together to discuss and analyse findings. It’s also a great way to show kids how beneficial technology can be to collaborate with others and bring faraway places together.
We’ve stepped out the process on how you can easily and successfully run a BioBlitz with your class and create a collective of budding scientists.
Create an iNaturalist account. This is a great web-based database that allows you to upload images of fauna and flora by location. This database is used by scientists across the world to paint a picture of what is living in Australia and where. The more data they have, the more they can track things like endangered species, migration patterns, and ecological changes.
This is the fun part. Explain to the kids what a BioBlitz is and why you are doing it. You can even show them a map in iNaturalist of all the other observations that have been recorded in their area and discuss different species and see if they have seen these in their area too. Then take your group out into the outside environment to start taking photos of what they find. We have some great ideas on different ways you can run this based on year groups on our BioBlitz page https://www.natureplayqld.org.au/nature-play-qld-bioblitz-2020
After your group has taken all their photos, do a mass photo upload into iNaturailst. By doing a mass upload of images allows you to manage the photos that are uploaded and also ensures that privacy is managed at the same time. You can find a video tutorial on how to do a mass upload here https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/video+tutorials
Once you’ve uploaded your data, the citizen scientist community can help you verify and validate your images. This is a great discussion point for your group as you can talk about different species found. Some discussion points could be:
- How some species may look visually similar but not exactly the same
- Why certain plants can grow successfully near each other
- Which species are common and which may be endangered
We have also provided some great lesson plans on different ways to engage kids in the BioBlitz that are all linked to the Australian Curriculum or Early Learning Framework.
We can’t wait to see how many species you can find!