The last decade has seen the unstoppable rise of the BioBlitz - a short, intense period of wildlife recording aiming to involve both experts and the public. On the one hand, these events have the goal of getting the public interested in biodiversity. On the other, the quality of the data produced is often questionable. So, BioBlitzes - good idea on not? What's your opinion?
Hi Alan, Thank you for asking us all. I have a number of reasons for not participating.
1. Long term commitment to a site: I prefer getting to know a nature site slowly. The seasons change and often different types of taxa emerge with this.
2. Some species only emerge with gentle observation (e.g. butterflies).
3. I do enjoy recording with others but not in a festival type environment.
Of course it's always personal choice, but what about the argument of recruiting new recorders?
Hi Alan, I understand the need for expansion and the need to recruit new recorders. Does this happen in a significant way with the BioBlitz events?
I think that public engagement is very important. It helps enormously if children and families can have a good experience. Where are the future recorders going to come from?
I agree about questionable data. Isn't there a way to double check it?
I am looking forward to meeting some new people and having a bit of fun. Leicester is an amazing city with some excellent wildlife areas that need to be celebrated partly to protect them.
The system that is being used for the City Nature Challenge bioblitz internationally, iNaturalist, doesn't do verification but instead has a public ranking system where users suggest names. Of course, no data is ever accepted by NatureSpot without expert verification, but given that the verification system is creaking a bit at this time of year it could be a problem is we are innundated with records of cats and dogs:
Alan, I have a question with regards to your last comment. If the verification system is creaking at this time of year, is there an urgent need for new recorders? I wonder what steps could be taken to lessen the pressure on the system at this time of year?
It's always the case that there is a big seasonal influx of records, as you might expect. However, if a big bioblitz event causes a significant increase, that's a good thing if the data is accurate, but if there are a lot of records which are obviously inappropriate (domestic and zoo animals for example), then it all takes time...
Hi Alan and all
the discussions above obviously took place pre-City Nature Challenge and I know that both of you have been fully engaged with the event and provided knowledge and expertise to help us in getting some valuable and accurate data that will be an asset for the city in the future.
I have similar conundrums between encouraging our future recorders, getting more people to value the green space and wildlife around them so that they can understand why it is important and what they can do to protect it. The issues around multiple use of our green space in the city is also an issue for wildlife but, whilst avoiding our most valued bio-diverse green spaces, it may still be possible to create good habitats for other species if we know that they are present nearby.
I am reserving further comment on the accuracy of the data until we have been able to evaluate it properly - the submission date for completed data is not until Sunday 5th May. We are very fortunate that in Leicester we have NatureSpot which is providing a fantastic resource for existing and new recorders. In other counties this resource does not exist and the national iRecord (with some similar issues on verification) is used.
Having run BioBlitzes for the last 9 years - as well as the species recording there is a large amount of public engagement and working with schools that cna only be ot the benefit of raising awareness of the value of our urban wildlife in a very busy and multi-cultural city
Like everything to do with wildlife and conservation it's a scarcity of resources problem. Given that we only have limited resources, how do we spend them - big flashy public events or long term support and training? Clearly the only correct answer is that we need to find the right balance between these two. "To Educate and Entertain", as the BBC used to say. But how much of each?