Finding Rare Species during a BioBlitz

Photo of an alligator or caiman head above the water looking at the camera.. Something was observing me back. © Judd Patterson
Something was observing me back. © Judd Patterson

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

A BioBlitz is a great opportunity to get out into nature and observe all the species of plants and animals (and fungi) that inhabit an area, whether that’s a local park or meadow or someplace you have traveled. During a BioBlitz, participants observe, photograph, and upload their observations to iNaturalist. During NANPA’s recent Nature Photography Day BioBlitz, more than 9,000 observations were logged, covering more than 3,000 species, 97 of which were threatened. The date contributed by participants becomes available to scientists and researchers—a true citizen-science project. We’ve profiled several participants (here, here, and here) already. Today, we turn our attention to Judd Patterson, who works for the National Park Service and pursues nature photography in his spare time. He logged observations of several rare and/or threatened species.

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North Carolina Photographer Wins NANPA Nature Photography Day Bioblitz Grand Prize

Photo of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in flight © Sam Ray
Ruby-throated Hummingbird © Sam Ray

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Back in June, many photographers joined in the NANPA Nature Photography Day Bioblitz, an eleven-day citizen-science project. A bioblitz is an event created to find and identify as many species as possible in a given area over a limited period of time. All observations are uploaded to an iNaturalist project. During the NANPA event, participants made close to 10,000 observations of over 3,000 species, 97 of which were threatened species. All this data is now available to scientists and researchers. To add a little excitement, several of NANPA’s generous sponsors contributed to prize packages. North Carolina-based nature photographer Sam Ray won the random drawing for a Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens.

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Nature Photography Day Is Coming

Nature Photography Day Graphic
Click to download a Nature Photography Day flyer to display or share.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

June 15 is Nature Photography Day, a time to promote the enjoyment of nature photography and to reflect on how photos can be used to further the cause of conservation. NANPA celebrated the first Nature Photography Day (NPD) back in 2006 and, over the past 15 years, there have been many ways the day has been observed—not just in North America but across the globe as well.

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The Bio Blitz Concept For Photography by Kevin Fitzpatrick

Bio Blitz © Kevin FitzPatrick

Bio Blitz © Kevin FitzPatrick

Text and Images by Kevin FitzPatrick

A Bio Blitz is a short (usually one-day), intense team effort to discover as many different life forms as possible in one location. This often involves researchers and the general public working together to identify as many species as possible in a 24-hour period. To date, I have photographed over 45 Bio Blitzes from California to Maine and have done four with National Geographic.

For me, the Bio Blitz compasses all that I want to communicate to my audience about conservation and biodiversity and is a wonderful way to communicate with students and their parents about science! Depending on where they live, young people might get a chance to try their hand at species identification, photography, wildlife sketching, writing about nature, or the discovery of the natural history of their area. No two Bio Blitzes will be the same, as each one will be a reflection of the local environment. It is an opportunity for youth to not only enhance their appreciation of the environment through photography, art and exploration, but also to engage in true citizen science. This can be done through the iNaturalist Mobile Application, which makes use of the Encyclopedia of Life’s Species Collections, allowing participants to document species and upload their observations to a collective map that is available freely online.

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PHOTOGRAPHER PROJECTS: Citizen Science and the Bio Blitz Concept

ATB_1012 copy

Bio Blitzes appeal to citizen scientists of all ages

Story and Photographs by Kevin Fitz Patrick

I remember coming to my first NANPA Summit in Corpus Christi and being overwhelmed by the Art Wolfes and the Robert Ketchums. Although I had been a nature photographer for more than 25 years, I had been working in a small part of the Appalachians most of the time. I had not been to Africa or South America. I hadn’t even been outside North Carolina, so how could I say I was a real nature photographer? Then I met Susan and Richard Day, nature photographers from Illinois who, at the time, shot mostly on a 63-acre property. It was then I realized that it was not about how much of the world you covered but how much you loved the place you photographed. I remember Susan telling me that it was about your niche. Finally, as I start my 70th year—my 46th as a photographer—I can name my niche!

I am a conservation and Bio Blitz photographer. The All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) is an attempt to document and identify all biological species living in a defined area. The effort in the Smokies has become the prototype for species inventories worldwide and has inspired the Bio Blitz; 24-hour species inventories conducted by professional scientists in collaboration with public volunteers. The volunteers can include school children, their instructors, families and even their grandparents. Continue reading