One of the first steps to protect native plants and animals is making sure we understand where wildlife is located and how it’s distributed. A Bioblitz takes a snapshot of an ecosystem at a certain point in time — usually conducted over just a few hours or a few days — when team of observers gathers together to record all the plants and animals they are able to spot within a given area. The events are quick to set up, fun for kids and adults of all ages, and educational for anyone with an interest in understanding local wildlife. But the observations are important for scientists, too! The data collected by anyone can be used to inform biologists how best to protect and restore an ecosystem.

Bioblitzes task users to take photos on handheld devices like mobile phones and tablets — often using a community science app like iNaturalist or Seek, which can quickly identify plants and animal species and instantly upload photos (if you’re willing) into a global database, where images are used by real conservationists and researchers who study species health and biodiversity.

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