It’s not often that the whole community has a chance to participate in science together, and even rarer that we get to do so at Lux Arbor, an exclusive KBS research site on Crooked Lake.
On June 2 & 3, teams of observers gathered at Lux Arbor for the second annual KBS BioBlitz, a citizen science effort to document as many species as possible in a short time period.
“We know a lot about the KBS property, but sometimes we aren’t paying close attention to the basics of what species are here,” said Kara Haas, KBS Science Education & Outreach Coordinator. “BioBlitz is a great way to get in touch with that, and get the whole community involved in science.”
Haas, in collaboration with other KBS staff, piloted BioBlitz last year at the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, and after that success, decided to host another BioBlitz event this year, passing on leadership of the event to graduate student Susan Magnoli.
“Despite it being a little chilly we had a great time! I think novices got a lot of experience finding and identifying species and everyone enjoyed getting a chance to explore Lux,” said Magnoli.
Using iNaturalist, participants recorded 313 species at Lux Arbor in the evening on June 2, and in the morning on June 3. INaturalist allows users to record data about species they see around them on both web and mobile app platforms.
“The great thing about iNaturalist, and using it for BioBlitz, is that we’re getting data that’s accessible to the public and is useful for researchers,” said Haas. “It can also be used as an education tool for teachers.”
26 participants banded together for the evening to seek out owls, herps (reptiles and amphibians) and arthropods (bugs). The morning session brought together 35 members, who spread out to find birds, herps , arthropods, plants, fish, and phytoplankton.
Participants included undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff, and their family members. Undergraduate student Dylan McKenzie jumped in with both feet to look for arthropods in the evening and herps in the morning.
“I’ve never done anything like BioBlitz before, but I loved it,” said McKenzie. “I’d definitely do this again!”
To learn more, and to see the stats from the weekend, see the full iNaturalist report from the KBS BioBlitz online.