Citizen Science Month:
The ecological monitoring campaign is a small part of the overall Pest Free Kaipātiki citizen science campaign. Previously we have divided monitoring into different kinds of animals, such as aquatic, reptiles, invertebrates, birds, and plants. This year, and onwards, we are changing this format so that all forms of life are captured under one project. This will be done using iNaturalist!
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How does it work?
We want you to record any living species you find using iNaturalist (see below). You can record absolutely anything as long as it's alive. Plants, birds, insects, spiders, fish, fungi, lichen, etc.. Aim to record wild things (not a pet or a plant in a pot). Look in your backyard, your local reserve, while walking along a road, your place of work or study, anywhere you find living things. If you want to get involved with the ecological monitoring campaign, simply follow the Pest Free Kaipatiki - Ecological Monitoring iNaturalist project, from there any flora and fauna you manage to take a picture of will be uploaded to our project and can be included in our data.
The best places will be more natural places, or places with vegetation, such as your backyard, an area of bush, or a reserve - but always stay on tracks in reserves, and stay away from kauri trees.
Look around you, look under things, look behind things. Particular insects, spiders and other invertebrates could be almost anywhere. Lots of plants can also be found growing all over the place.
What is iNaturalist?
iNaturalist is a website and app that almost anyone can use to record observations of living things. With the app, you can snap a photo of something, upload it, ask the very clever auto-recognition feature to suggest what it is, then select what you think. The observation is added and people around the world will see your photo and confirm or suggest the identification. It’s very cool.
It is a great way to learn about the living things around us and learn how to recognize some of them. And you have a record of everything you’ve observed. And it works anywhere in the world, so if you travel to a new place you might add a new species for your own records. How many species can you find?
For a comprehensive user operator guide to iNaturalist, please follow the link here.
The Ecological Monitoring project began on the 4th of may, and will continue onwards indefinitely. The reason we are conducting this project over the course of a year is to allow certain flora and or fauna that are only present at certain times of the year to be found and photographed. This is especially relevant to invertebrates who are in their largest numbers during spring/summer. News from the project will then be posted every 2 months!
Join the iNaturalist project online, get out there, and start observing! We would love observations of any living thing (although please restrain from taking photos of potted plants, pets or humans). There are some super easy ways to find some wildlife, go for a walk through your local reserve, take a photo of some plants in a carpark, or even turn over some rocks in your garden and find some insects!