Journal archives for April 2018

April 13, 2018

Spending time with iNat community in Del Rio

I think some of my favorite times are spent outside in nature.

It's great that there is a community that enjoys these times as much as I do -- this is the iNat community. iNaturalist is such an enjoyable tool. My appreciation for nature is amplified by using it.

On April 5 - 8, I joined up with around 20 other iNatters near Del Rio to explore and document stuff. It was fantastic! The original plan was modified a bit (https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/sambiology/13715-del-rio-details-inat-gathering-and-bioblitz-at-amistad-and-devil-s-river), and I've found out how difficult it is to do this when there's very very little cell reception! Here's what I ended up doing:

April 5: explored Lake Amistad National Recreation Park. In the AM, met up with some folks at the visitor's center off of hwy 90 and walked the sunrise tour. After that, we went across the road from the Rock Quarry , south of hwy 90, across from the railroad tracks. In the evening, we set up several blacklights at the San Pedro group site -- which we had all to ourselves!

April 6: explored Seminole Canyon State Park most of the day. It was windy in the AM, but it was mighty hot in the late morning and afternoon! In the evening, we went to the Spur 406 camping site to blacklight. It was crazy successful with the mothing!

April 7: explored the Dan A Hughes unit of the Devil's River State Natural Area. This was fairly rugged terrain, and the roads were a little nerve-racking. This area is normally closed to the public, so it was pretty special that we got to check it out. In the afternoon, we went to a park close to the San Felipe creek, and then the group met up for dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

April 8: explored Kickapoo Caverns State Park with a couple folks and headed back home.

I've been using a lot of the other ID's already created by others: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=405&view=species

And a neat new kind of project:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/southwest-texas-inat-a-thon

So many of these other iNatters are far more skilled at photography than I am -- I'll likely link out to their photos as I upload my observations.

Overall, it was such a great gathering -- I'm already thinking of locations for the next one in Texas! Maybe the Lower Rio Grande Valley? Some place in the panhandle? Guadalupe Mountains? Lots of places are possible!

Posted on April 13, 2018 01:28 by sambiology sambiology | 8 comments | Leave a comment

April 15, 2018

Influx of observations, trust in suggestions feature, extra curation needed!

I love the new autosuggestion feature of iNat -- I keep reminding myself that it's 'learning' as more and more species are added to the algorithm... In the meantime, I've noticed quite a few observations (just in my area of Dallas/Fort Worth) that have been ID'ed as things that area way out of the natural distribution.

As the city nature challenge gets closer, I predict that there will be an influx of observations from new users that trust solely on the visual suggestions given by the app.

I also know that there are many students that are forced to use iNat for some project under duress, and many of them may not care about the quality of their observations... I wish it were different, but I do think that's the reality of it!

Most of all, I'm extraordinarily grateful for the folks that devote their expertise and knowledge to adding in ID's and curating the observations. Know that each time you add an ID, you're actually welcoming someone to the naturalist community -- validating their observation and letting the observer know that we value the observations in the database (even if they're super blurry!). :)

So, I'm curious -- what's the best way to deal with the influx of new observations? I try to add in ID's, but I tend to focus JUST on my region of Texas -- I'm sure there are lots that are popping up from other parts of the world that need the same or more curation... I also use some copy and paste messages, but I may have to modify them a bit...

What do you think?

Posted on April 15, 2018 16:56 by sambiology sambiology | 15 comments | Leave a comment

April 19, 2018

Events in Dallas Fort Worth for the City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge - BioBlitz events in DFW

Friday, April 27
Burleson – 9 – Noon at Wakefield Heights Park (704 Elizabeth Dr., Burleson, TX 76028)
Denton – 10:30 – 11:30 AM at UNT Discovery Park at the Pollinator Prairie (3940 N Elm St., Denton, TX 76207)
Dallas – 1 – 2 PM - UTD Campus Monarch/Bee Waystation (2114 University Parkway, Richardson, TX 75080)
Grapevine – 4 – 6 pm at Parr Park (3100 Parr Ln, Grapevine, TX 76051)
Midlothian – 8 – 11 PM - Mothing at Mockingbird Park (1361 Onward Road, Midlothian, TX 76065)
Cedar Hill – 8 – 10 PM - Mothing at Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center (1206 W Fm 1382, Cedar Hill, TX 75104)
Pilot Point – 8 – 10 PM – Moth madness at Ray Roberts State Park (Kid Fish Pond, Ray Roberts State Park, TX 76258)

Saturday, April 28
Flower Mound – 9 – noon at the Flower Mound (2450 Flower Mound Road, TX 75028)
Dallas – 9 – noon - BioBlitz at Crawford Park (8600 Elam Road, Dallas, TX 75217)
Dallas – 9 – noon – BioBlitz at Hines Park (9701 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75220)
McKinney – 9 AM – 1 PM at Heard Museum (1 Nature Pl, McKinney, TX 75069)
Pilot Point – 10 – 11 AM – Bioblitz at Ray Roberts State Park (Kid Fish Pond, Ray Roberts State Park, TX 76258)
Grapevine – 10 – noon at Grapevine Botanical Garden (411 Ball St, Grapevine, TX 76051)
Pilot Point – 11 – noon – How to use iNaturalist (Kid Fish Pond, Ray Roberts State Park, TX 76258)
Flower Mound – 1 – 4 PM at Green Acres Farm Memorial Park (4400 Hide-A-Way Lane, Flower Mound, TX 75022)
Grapevine – 1 - 3 PM at Parr Park (3100 Parr Ln, Grapevine, TX 76051)
Dallas – 2 – 5 PM - BioBlitz at L.B. Houston (1775 California Crossing Road, Dallas, TX 75220)
Pilot Point – 3 – 4 PM – BioBlitz at Ray Roberts State Park (Picnic Pavilion 1, Ray Roberts State Park, TX 76258)
Arlington – 4 – 10 PM – BioBlitz at Southwest Nature Preserve (5201 Bowman Springs Road, Arlington, TX 76060)
Cleburne – 7 – 10 PM – Mothing at Cleburne State Park (Cedar Lodge Patio, Cleburne State Park, TX 76033)
Plano – 6:30 – 9 PM – Night hike at Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve (5901 Los Rios Blvd., Plano, TX 75074)
Fort Worth – 8 – 11 PM – Mothing at Ranches East Park (3801 Lazy River Ranch Road, Roanoke, TX 76262)

Sunday, April 29
Flower Mound – 8 AM – Noon at Cross Timbers Trail (Dunham Road Trailhead, east of Hwy 377, south of FM 1171)
Dallas – Noon – 3 PM - BioBlitz at Emerald Lake (6102 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, TX 75249)
Dallas – 1 - 4 PM - BioBlitz at Twelve Hills Nature Center (817 Mary Cliff Rd, Dallas, TX 75208)
Grapevine – 2 – 4 PM - Nature walk at Meadowmere Park (3000 Meadowmere Ln, Grapevine, TX 76051)
Fort Worth – 2 – 5 PM at Chisolm Trail Community Park (4936 McPherson Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76123)
Argyle – 2 – 5 PM at Lantana Trails (11555 Lantana Trail, Argyle, TX 76226)

Posted on April 19, 2018 19:30 by sambiology sambiology | 38 comments | Leave a comment