Local environmentalists are seeking would-be citizen scientists to help record plants, animals, fungi, and everything in between living in Langley during a bioblitz currently underway.
Yorkson Watershed Enhancement Society (YWES) is hosting the second annual Langley Watershed Bioblitz. It started May 29, and runs until June 13.
And during that time, local residents are being challenged to document every kind of living thing in their own backyards or neighbourhood, said YWES vice-president Kirk Robertson.
Everyone, regardless of what watershed they live in within Langley, is invited to participate, and there are multiple ways to engage, including signing into to inaturalist.org, or downloading the free iNAturalist app on a smartphone, he explained.
“When you take a photo of a fungus, insect, or plant iNaturalist will help you by providing suggestions to help you identify it. When you record your observation online it will be added to the count. You can also use social media by posting a photo with the hashtag #LangleyBioBlitz, Robertson said.
And, since apps or social media are not for everyone, people can also send their observations via email to email@example.com.
The watersheds of Langley extend beyond the boundaries of the Township and City, so people living close by – in Surrey and Abbotsford – may be able to participate, as well.
A bioblitz is a community based effort to record as many species for a limited area and in a limited time as is possible. The collected data provides a snapshot of nature for that location for that moment in time, Robertson said.
Normally, before the pandemic, YWES held a mini-bioblitz within the Yorkson Creek watershed. And during those events, local residents gathered for a few hours to observe and record animals, plants, and fungi within a small forest or in and around a neighbourhood pond.
“Although this evening event had a scientific purpose, it was also a fun family occasion with a lot of participation from families with children. People out for a walk have even been known to join in,” Robertson recounted.
“Last year, when nothing seemed normal, YWES came up with a creative alternative. Instead of having a mini-bioblitz we would have a virtual bioblitz over all the watersheds of Langley. This means that the same mix of science and fun can occur, but within the restrictions required for public health.”
Endorsed by all the watershed groups in Langley, he described last year’s two-week event a “great success.”
More than 3,000 observations were noted, with the Yorkson watershed alone seeing 1,334 observations and 387 species.
One Langley Field Naturalist personally observed and emailed more than 400 observations of native species, Robertson noted.
The combined Glen Valley watersheds area saw the species count during the 2020 bioblitz nearly double from what had been observed beforehand.
“The species noted and recorded by the citizen scientists of Langley varied from the everyday (purple foxgloves, American robins, and bumblebees) to the rare and at risk (Oregon forest snail, Trowbridge’s shrew, and western fence lizard), to the bizarre (slime molds and dog vomit slime). We expect that this year’s bioblitz will be just as interesting and successful.”
Would-be citizen scientists can contact Langley Environmental Partners Society’s Lisa Dreves at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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