May 12, 2022

Events going on in/near Dallas/Fort Worth for the next few months!

Hey all,

Just tossing up some of the iNat events/bioblitzes/gatherings happening in DFW for the next few months. All are welcome! :)

Monday, May 16: 3-7 PM - biosurveys at the new nature park in Duncanville - Ladd Natural Area -- close to 447 Oak Leaf Dr, Duncanville, TX 75137
32.633979, -96.918541

Saturday, May 21: early to late -- not close to DFW, but a bioblitz in Austin! https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/sambiology/64051-bioblitz-in-austin-decker-tallgrass-prairie-preserve-may-21

Monday, May 23: 4-7 PM - biosurvey at Benny J. Simpson Ecopark in Dallas - Coit @ McCallum - N - FS, Dallas, TX 75252
32.988630, -96.766786

Saturday, June 11: 9 AM - noon - bioblitz at TC Rice Jr Natural area in Carrollton -
2105 N Josey Ln, Carrollton, TX 75006
32.997715, -96.947701
https://www.facebook.com/events/740586193600344

Mothing events in July-- more details coming later! July 23 - Spring Creek Preserve in Garland; July 25 - River Legacy in Arlington; July 29 - John Bunker Sands in Seagoville; July 30 - Acton Nature Center.

Posted on May 12, 2022 00:54 by sambiology sambiology | 13 comments | Leave a comment

April 16, 2022

BioBlitz in Austin -- Decker Tallgrass Prairie Preserve!!! May 21!

What are you doing on Saturday, May 21?!? Well, I'll be down in Austin helping out with a bioblitz at Decker Tallgrass Prairie Preserve!!! Wanna join me?!?

@jdavisz is putting in a lot of work to document as much as possible on this peninsula of Lake Walter E. Long in east Austin (around 350 acres) -- there will be a public portion from 9 to noon, and then a 'hardcore iNatter document everything possible' after that. The preserve is normally not open to the public, but we'll have some special permission to access it. :) It's just north of the Walter Long Metropolitan Park and access will be through the Decker Creek Power Station.

Map here:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Decker+Tallgrass+Prairie+Preserve/@30.298537,-97.6098819,2501m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x8644b80379bbac03:0x82bb194bd5494c10!8m2!3d30.2979712!4d-97.6065626

There will be some black-lighting here in the evening too -- super excited!

Register to come here: https://www.givepulse.com/event/292494-Decker-Preserve-Bio-Blitz%21

If you're interested, let me know -- hoping to run into lots of Austin folks (as well as anyone else that wants to come over for some iNatting)! More nitty gritty details coming up soon -- but mark the calendar if you want to come!

Posted on April 16, 2022 01:18 by sambiology sambiology | 53 comments | Leave a comment

February 19, 2022

The Power of the Petri Dish!

I really love bugs. There is such tremendous diversity among insects and invertebrates, it's almost impossible to get bored studying and observing them!

One of the most valuable tools that I use to study bugs is the petri dish. I'm not good at taking photos, I don't have a great camera for macrophotography, but with a petri dish, I can contain a bug long enough to get shots of lots of different angles.

Another great thing about having petri dishes with you, especially if you're leading/on a public nature walk, is that you can share the experience of holding the bug without scaring those that may not want to touch the bug. I've been on a lot of walks (leading and just participating), where I'll find a bee or a wasp, grab it in a petri dish, and then even the most fearful person can hold it and examine it closely. And, after it's examined by everyone, you can return the organism without a tremendous amount of trauma/injury.

Great to have some petri dishes handy whenever you're outside! :)

I get my petri dishes here:
https://www.acornnaturalists.com/petri-dishes-90-mm-sleeve-of-10.html
They're relatively inexpensive, but they're also plastic, so they don't always last too long... They scratch and crack, and when I have one in my back pocket, I'll almost always sit on it! Nonetheless, they're super useful.

Have you tried using petri dishes???

Posted on February 19, 2022 00:00 by sambiology sambiology | 10 comments | Leave a comment

January 27, 2022

Open space in Duncanville -- check it out!

So, there's an open space in Duncanville that's pretty dang sweet. It's around 40 acres with some cool open limestone spots and Ten Mile Creek that runs right through it. The land is open to the public and it's owned by the City of Duncanville. Here is some more info about the land:
https://www.focusdailynews.com/ladd-preservation-advocacy-a-hot-topic-for-duncanville/

Anywho, there's been some talk about development, so we're wanting to actively use the observations made on the land to show that there's not just biodiversity but also a naturalist community that seeks out open green spaces like this. It is well worthy of preserving.

If you find yourself in southern Dallas County, be sure to stop by the Ladd Land and make some observations -- they're especially useful! :)

The address is 609 W Danieldale Rd, Duncanville, TX 75137
and the GPS is 32.634893, -96.921227

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=178712&subview=map

Posted on January 27, 2022 01:07 by sambiology sambiology | 11 comments | Leave a comment

December 28, 2021

Fundraiser for iNat

https://donorbox.org/inaturalist-community-fundraising/fundraiser/sam-kieschnick

My 40th birthday is coming up, and this year, I'm hoping for some funds to be donated to iNaturalist. I'm about as bonkers as one can get about this resource. It's a database, it's a community, it's a lifestyle! :) Seriously, I have engaged more deeply using the tool of iNaturalist than anything else. It's broadened my interests in nature -- I explore the ecosystem thoroughly. Each time I go outside, I take iNaturalist with me. :)

No obligation, but if you're able to, iNat is well worthy of funds. I've set a goal of $1k, and here's the site:
https://donorbox.org/inaturalist-community-fundraising/fundraiser/sam-kieschnick

So grateful for this tool -- I've met with some of my absolute favorite people, in real life or virtually (with hopes to meeting so many of you in the near future). :)

Looking forward to using iNaturalist for the rest of my life!

Posted on December 28, 2021 22:34 by sambiology sambiology | 5 comments | Leave a comment

December 22, 2021

Anyone have any video footage of bioblitzes (Texas-stuff preferably)?

Hey all,

Just tossing a request out there... So, TPWD is working on a bioblitz/citizen science/uses of iNaturalist video, and we have a bit of footage, but I'm curious if anyone has any that they have that we can use too! Ideally, we're looking for Texas bioblitzing in action.

If you have some that you're willing to share, we'll give credit to you, of course. You can reach out to me here or at my email: sam.kieschnick@tpwd.texas.gov

The video will be put together by @olivetree. Here is her last video (and she has another one that will hopefully come out soon on small urban green spaces):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGRqeN3PCNw

Posted on December 22, 2021 02:40 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 11, 2021

Year in Review -- soooo cool to see this data! :)

I love it when the iNat folks do the year in review. It's so awesome to see the stats for all of iNat in the year, and then to get the personalized results too.

Here are the site's stats for 2021 (so far!):
https://www.inaturalist.org/stats/2021

Here are my stats for this year:
https://www.inaturalist.org/stats/2021/sambiology

It was another year of just doing Texas travels (hopefully next year I'll be able to go a bit more north than TX), but I'm really happy that I was able to observe lots of critters and organisms this year. So far, about 3700 unique taxa in around 16k observations. Fun! And the little daily streak continued for this year too -- I've been super lucky to get to go outside every day for the past several years to make iNat observations. :)

You should check out your stats for this year! How did you do?!? And the numbers are irrelevant when compared to the engagement -- hopefully you engaged with nature a bunch this year!!! :)

Posted on December 11, 2021 01:54 by sambiology sambiology | 5 comments | Leave a comment

November 20, 2021

Reminder post: BioBlitz at Indian Creek Ranch - May 6-8, 2022

Jo Roberts is organizing a super gathering at Indian Creek Ranch on May 6 - 8 next year. 10k acres!

It's on private property, so it's a bit different than the previous gatherings in public areas. Chime in on that post if you're wanting to come! :)

https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/59386-bioblitz-at-indian-creek-ranch-may-6-8-2022

Posted on November 20, 2021 23:00 by sambiology sambiology | 3 comments | Leave a comment

October 15, 2021

Blacklighting at LLELA! October 21

Hey all!

On Thursday, October 21, we'll do some black-lighting at LLELA. We'll be by the greenhouse with a whole slew of black-lighting stations!

Here's the exact GPS: 33.06272635238685, -96.98885902094148
It'll be off of the Jones St. entrance -- basically the first right that you can take as you get into LLELA.

You do not have to be a master naturalist to join this event! It is one of the pre-conference field trips for the Texas Master Naturalists, but any and all can come to this without any sort of registration.

LLELA is a great place for mothing/black-lighting. Here are the moths that have been documented at LLELA so far:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=63542&taxon_id=47157&view=species&without_taxon_id=47224,47654

Hope to see you there! :) Let me know if you've got any questions or concerns.

~Sam

Posted on October 15, 2021 18:13 by sambiology sambiology | 25 comments | Leave a comment

September 18, 2021

2021 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Celebration Honoring Greg Lasley

SAVE THE DATE
October 8, 2021 at 6pm, A Virtual Event

https://travisaudubon.org/2021-vecal

2021 CONSERVATION HERO GREG LASLEY
AUSTIN, Texas– Travis Audubon announces the selection of the 2021 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Hero.

Every year Travis Audubon honors an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to promoting environmental conservation, education, or advocacy. These heroes are recognized at our annual Conservation Award Celebration, named after legendary birder and conservationist Victor Emanuel. The honorees are influential leaders who have inspired us to greater community involvement and environmental awareness through their work.

The Board of Directors of Travis Audubon is honored to announce that the 2021 Conservation Hero is Greg Lasley of Dripping Springs, Texas. The Board unanimously agreed that no one is more qualified for this award than Lasley, who accepted the honor before his death on January 30, 2021. Lasley will be honored posthumously at the virtual 12th annual Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Celebration on October 8.

Greg Lasley was a force in birding and conservation for more than forty years, but he was a student of nature all his life. He began with snakes—venomous snakes—and as a teenager, worked in the herpetology collection at the Atlanta Zoo milking the snakes for antivenom. Lasley kept snakes until his mid-twenties. He was even a falconer for a time, but it wasn’t until he moved to Texas and saw Painted Buntings at his backyard feeder that Lasley became a birder.

Everyone who knew Greg Lasley felt he was one of the most caring and generous people they had ever met. Those characteristics were evident in his work as a policeman and as a naturalist. Even before retiring as a Lieutenant with the Austin Police Department in 1997, Lasley had dedicated himself to wildlife photography. Lasley first pointed a camera at a bird in 1971 (a Horned Lark at Great Salt Lake, Utah) while he was in the U.S. Air Force. Since then, several thousand of his images have been published in hundreds of books, magazines, and websites. In 2000, he and photography partner Larry Ditto won the prestigious Valley Land Fund South Texas Shootout contest. His legendary photographic skills served as a model of technical craftsmanship and opened a window to the complexity of bird behavior and the natural world. A self-described “birder gone bad,” Lasley’s expertise as a naturalist, photographer, and mentor extended far beyond ornithology and into the world of dragonflies, damselflies, moths, and many other creatures.

Over the last decade, Lasley was a prodigious contributor to iNaturalist, the online citizen-science database, and he recognized the immense value of such efforts to understand the natural world. Lasley verified more than 450,000 observations from around the world, gaining a reputation as not only a knowledgeable naturalist but also as a skilled and patient teacher. Over the last forty years, few people have promoted birding and conservation in Texas—and the world—more than Greg Lasley.

Lasley gathered and shared data on birds in many other ways as well. If he came across a dead bird, he took it to Texas A&M to be part of their collection. He participated in various Audubon Christmas bird counts, a birding tradition that, over the last hundred years, has gathered more data on birds than any other effort in the world. His long editorship of the Texas column for American Birds magazine (and its various incarnations, 1970s-1990s) added keen insight into the data collected by Texas birders. In the late 1970s, he almost singlehandedly re-invigorated the Texas Bird Records Committee of the Texas Ornithological Society, elevating that committee and its work. Throughout his life, Lasley kept a list of every bird he saw and the numbers of each species and submitted this huge amount of data to Cornell’s eBird project. This data helps raise awareness of conservation needs, and Lasley devoted his life to sharing such data about the natural world.

Perhaps Lasley’s greatest conservation legacy is the countless people he inspired and encouraged to learn about the natural world. Lasley was a role model and inspiration to many—especially those just getting started in birding, wildlife identification, and photography. A true ambassador for birding in Texas, he was a kind and welcoming teacher, always willing to share his knowledge and skills. As a long-time birding-tour leader with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, he had a direct role in introducing birders to the beauty and diversity of birds both in Texas and around the world. Greg Lasley is a model for us all when considering the impact that just one life can have on so many.

Lasley’s accomplishments will be celebrated virtually at the 2021 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Celebration on October 8. We hope you will join us for this wonderful celebration of Lasley’s passion and dedication. Sponsorships will be available soon.

Posted on September 18, 2021 15:16 by sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | Leave a comment