Journal archives for March 2020

March 10, 2020

Discouraging public... "Remove the wildlife!"

Lately, it seems like I've had a lot of requests for presentations on dealing with 'nuisance' species... Coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, opossums... It's actually a bit of a bummer.

A few weeks ago I gave the most difficult presentation I've ever had to do to an angry group of homeowners that wanted nearby coyotes trapped and removed. I tried my best to stick to the message... Don't feed the wildlife, control trash, and hazing techniques... Alas, these folks didn't want to hear any of it.

Outside of that presentation, there's just been an influx of calls and emails about 'nuisance' species. Not gonna lie -- it's discouraging.

So, I'm curious how other naturalist/nature enthusiasts respond to the "let's get rid of it!" response... I guess I'm just fishing for some novel or convincing lines that you use when talking about the importance/value/appreciation of wildlife.

Oh, and iNat is where I go to get encouraged again. :)

Posted on March 10, 2020 22:14 by sambiology sambiology | 20 comments | Leave a comment

March 18, 2020

COVID 19 and City Nature Challenge -- message from organizers

We know COVID-19 is affecting many of our CNC cities, some much more than others. After much thinking, we have decided to keep the CNC event scheduled for April 24-27 (observations) and April 28-May 3 (identifications). However, we will be making some significant modifications:

This year’s City Nature Challenge is no longer a competition.
We want to embrace the collaborative aspect of the CNC this year and the healing power of nature to allow people to document their local biodiversity in whatever way they can.
It is imperative that you follow the regulations of your governments and the organizations where you work.

We have left it up to local organizers if they need to cancel the CNC in their city this year. We support any changes our organizers need to make and hope those that cannot participate this year will join us again in 2021!

As a participant, it is up to you how much or how little you take part! Do only what feels safe for you & your family and is in accordance with all your local regulations.

For cities continuing to participate in CNC 2020:

- It is imperative that you follow the guidelines/recommendations of your local governments & institutions (i.e., limit or cancel events if needed)
- Do what’s best for you & your community

Alternatives to in-person events

Indoors:

- What can people find in their houses? What can they see through their windows?
- Focus on identifications! Can your city go through ALL the observations (not just CNC!) that have already been made in your area but aren’t research grade yet?
- During April 28 - May 3, hold virtual ID parties!

In Backyards:

- Encourage people to put up moth lights or put down cover boards at their houses to help bring nature to them!
- What are the wild plants growing in your backyard?
- What insects or other creatures are using the cultivated plants in your backyard as habitat or a food source?

Outside of your home and backyard (if allowed):

- Practice social distancing wherever you go.
- Promote people going outside and making observations on their own/with a small group of their family & friends, instead of joining big events.
- Think about making observations along sidewalks, pavements, roads, or in residential areas if local parks are too crowded for social distancing. Always be mindful of traffic.

If you’re allowed to hold CNC events:

- Keep them outside! Luckily this is what the CNC is all about, but if you were planning an indoor portion of an event, forgo it and keep the whole event outside
- Limit registration
- Practice social distancing (it's best if people stay 2-3m apart)
- Don’t have shared, unwrapped food available - encourage people to bring & eat their own food
- Have places available where people can wash their hands and/or have hand sanitizer
- Don’t pass around binoculars, phones, guidebooks, etc. - everyone should keep their gear to themselves

Stay safe, hang in there, and we can't wait to see what you find - in your houses, in your backyards, along sidewalks, in parks - and know that people all around the world are joining you in documenting nature in whatever way they can during these unprecedented times.
Our thoughts are with all of you,
Alison Young (@kestrel) - California Academy of Sciences and Lila Higgins (@lhiggins) - Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Posted on March 18, 2020 21:20 by sambiology sambiology | 3 comments | Leave a comment

March 26, 2020

Narrowing down ID's -- Spring-time boost of observations!

So, spring is pretty much here in Dallas/Fort Worth, and the number of observations is growing along with the plants! Despite the quarantine and 'shelter in place' orders, folks are still going outside to get observations. This is a great thing -- getting outside and enjoying nature is crucial to our health, I think. I still try to do it every day!

In the past few months, I've been trying to identify observations from the "Cross Timbers and Blackland Prairies Ecoregion in Texas":
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=128161&subview=grid

But now, I'm going to start to just focus on the DFW metroplex with ID's:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=57484&subview=grid

I wish I had some time and energy to focus on specific taxa, but instead I've decided to focus on an area and all taxa. Nonetheless, please tag me if you'd like for me to look at an observation outside of DFW! :)

Here's the ID page for DFW observations:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?quality_grade=needs_id%2Cresearch&place_id=57484

Also, since lots of folks have been mothing lately, here are the top 500 species documented in DFW:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=57484&subview=grid&taxon_id=47157&view=species&without_taxon_id=47224,47654

Keep on observing! :)

Posted on March 26, 2020 02:23 by sambiology sambiology | 3 comments | Leave a comment

March 04, 2020

Events going on in the DFW metroplex! *all public gatherings cancelled*

Just FYI -- saddens me tremendously to say this, but we're cancelling all public gatherings.

The City Nature Challenge is still going on though -- so if you're able to, please make some observations. :)

Posted on March 04, 2020 04:22 by sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | Leave a comment