September 6–12, 2020
The first DFW Fall Socially Distant BioBlitz was a huge success! During these seven days, over 1100 people participated in the greater DFW 11-county area. Many of these people were Master Naturalists, but many more were not. Between all of us, we made over 35,000 observations, of over 2700 species. What a great way to kick the end-of-summer doldrums!
The competition between Master Naturalist chapters was friendly, but enthusiastic. Elm Fork’s service area had the most observations, with over 10,000, but Cross Timbers Chapter and our own Blackland Prairie Chapter were not far behind, with over 8000 observations each. (Note that Elm Fork had THREE counties, while we only had two. Just saying….) Overall, the Blackland Prairie Chapter made a terrific contribution. We had 45 members contribute over 7000 observations during that seven-day period. We observed 931 different species! To put that in proper perspective, over the comparable week in 2019, our members made only 379 observations. According to my calculations, we made around 19 times as many observations this year as last!!
We held ten small group outings during the BioBlitz, and all the participants enjoyed getting a chance to explore with fellow Master Naturalists. Twenty-five members attended at least one outing, with some hardy souls attending five, six, or seven! We kicked off the week with an outing to Hunt County, an area that has had very little iNaturalist activity. Manju Ruikar (Class of 2020) kindly invited the group out to explore her family’s Hunt county property. There were 384 observations made in Hunt county during the BioBlitz, so we still have lots of room for improvement out there. Still, compared to the 15 observations made last year during this time period, we’ve come a long way! We made other outings to places new and old, from the Heard Sanctuary and Erwin Park, to Parkhill Prairie and Breckenridge Park. On Friday, we had perfect weather for exploring the Woodfin property. (Thanks, Bill and Fran, for having us!) We saw more butterflies at the beautiful Stiff Chapel Cemetery than we’d seen all week!
In addition to the outings, many people worked hard collecting observations on their own. We had several people new to iNaturalist jump in with both feet! A big welcome to iNaturalist for Rochelle Delozier (iNat ID “delozier4”). She just joined iNaturalist in August and made over 500 observations during the BioBlitz! Wow! Matt Delozier (iNat ID “outdoormatt”) wasn’t too far behind her, and Brent Blackwell (iNat ID “backfire”,) while not entirely new to iNaturalist, caught the bug this year and did some serious ‘Blitzing, too!
Identifying observations made by others is one area in which our chapter has historically lagged. However, we’re well on our way to remedying that this year! We had more people than ever before making identifications during the BioBlitz. Twelve members each provided identifications for over 100 observations made by others, and several chapter members each made thousands of BioBlitz ID’s. This is such an important part of the outreach component of iNaturalist, so a big thanks to people who worked on identifications!
Kudos to Sam Kieschnick for organizing this project and inspiring so many of us! Check out the whole project and results on iNaturalist: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/fall-socially-distant-bioblitz-dfw-urban-ecosystem Sam will be presenting a webinar reviewing the results and relevancy of the 2020 BioBlitz, on Friday, September 25, at 7:00 PM. Pre-registration required: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ssLSn7T6Qe6r_HfTAjyCtg