CA Fire Followers: ID-athon Events

Journal Post - ID-athon
The International sports event usually held every 4 years will have its opening ceremony starting this Friday, July 23. But maybe you’re marveling at the feats of endurance, speed and resilience observed by the “track in field” Fire Followers project instead.

DATES: July 23, 2021-August 8, 2021

Starting this Friday, we will also be running our own decathlon of identifications, which will last for 16 days. Like the decathlon, scores from reaching benchmarks in 10 individual events will be totaled to declare the 3 winners of the Fire Followers deca-identi-thlon!

Gold: Fire Followers Shirt
Silver: CAL-IPC Hat and Fire Followers Pin
Bronze: Fire Follower Sticker pack and Luggage Tag


Event 1: Asteraceae: ~1900 ids needed
The Sunflower Family is a 1,500-species run in California!

Event 2: Fabaceae: ~1,200 ids needed
Plants in the Pea Family often pop their pods, scattering heavy seeds far from the parent plant in shot-put feats.

Event 3: Boraginaceae:~1,100 ids needed
If I told you a high jumper clearing the bar looks like the scorpioid cyme of the Borage Family you’d never unsee it.

Event 4: Poaceae: ~500 ids needed
If you’ve ever had the hardened callus of a grass seed lodge in your sock or elsewhere, you’ve felt the javelin throw of the Grass Family.

Event 5: Polemoniaceae: ~500 ids needed
With a name like the Sky Pilot Family, it’s a “Pole”moniaceae vault!

Event 6: Phrymaceae: ~430 ids needed
Mostly monkeyflowers, often annuals: usually facing a short growing season, it can be a 100-day dash to the finish for the Lopseed Family.

Event 7: Plantaginaceae: ~390 ids needed
When the Scrophulariaceae was reordered and pretty penstemons paired with plain plantains, the Plantain Family took a broad jump in form and number of species!

Event 8: Lamiaceae: ~380 ids needed
The Mint Family is often known by their 4-sided stems, and the 400-meter event is known for being 400 meters. The Lamiaceae used to be the Labitae and the 400-meter used to be a quarter-mile!

Event 9: Montiaceae: 370 ids needed
Many spring beauties of the Montiaceae are recognizable for their discus-like fused bracts below the flowers.

Event 10: Rosaceae:~340 ids needed
Rose hips are pivotal for identification and human hips are pivotal in the hurdles!

Benchmark: You will be scored based off of the total points accumulated throughout the events, for the highest benchmark reached in each.
The 1,500 Species Sunflowers: 500 IDs = 1000pts. |300 IDs = 500pts. |100 IDs = 100pts. | 50 IDs = 50pts.
The Pea Pod Shot Put: 400 IDs = 900pts. |200 IDs = 400pts. |100 IDs = 100pts. | 50 IDs = 50pts.
The Scorpioid Cyme High Jump: 300 IDs = 700pts. |150 IDs = 200pts. |100 IDs = 100pts. | 50 IDs = 50pts.
The Grass Javelin:200 IDs = 600pts. |100 IDs = 100pts. |50 IDs = 50pts. |25 IDs = 25pts.
The Polemon Vault:200 IDs = 600pts. |100 IDs = 100pts. |50 IDs = 50pts. |25 IDs = 25pts.
The 100-Monkeyflower Dash: 150 IDs = 300pts. |100 IDs = 100pts. |50 IDs = 50pts. |25 IDs = 25pts. |10 IDs = 10 pts.
The Beardtongue Broad Jump: 100 IDs = 150pts. |50 IDs = 75pts. |25 IDs = 25pts. |10 IDs = 10 pts.
The 4-Sided Stem Dash: 100 IDs = 150pts. |50 IDs = 75pts. |25 IDs = 25pts. |10 IDs = 10 pts.
The Discus (Perfoliate Bract) Throw: 100 IDs = 150pts. |50 IDs = 75pts. |25 IDs = 25pts. |10 IDs = 10 pts.
The Rose Hip Hurdles: 100 IDs = 150pts. |50 IDs = 75pts. |25 IDs = 25pts. |10 IDs = 10 pts.

To make things a bit more challenging, we will also be awarding the top three participants who make the most overall improvements and leading identifications in all the following categories above! Here is a link that will take you to a list of all the families listed above combined:,47122,48150,47434,48932,64552,50638,48623,71417,47148&iconic_taxa=Plantae
As a reminder, the prizes are:
Gold: Fire Followers Shirt
Silver: CAL-IPC Hat and Fire Followers Pin
Bronze: Fire Follower Sticker pack and Luggage Tag

You are tagged in this post because you are among some of the top Identifiers of these plant families listed above and we hope you take part in helping identify some of the observations made so far! Feel free to share this with other Naturalists who you think would like to participate and don't forget to join our Fire Followers Project. Thanks for your help!
@graysquirrel @jrebman @grnleaf @catchang @matt_g @andyjones1 @cwbarrows @polemoniaceae @glmory @arboretum_amy @reodell @jdmore @efmer @kueda @serpophaga @ronvanderhoff @birgitknorr @boschniakia @susanmf @charlie @flower_prof @paloma @jlmartin @brothernorbert @sganley @kevinhintsa @diego4nature @finatic @silversea_starsong @cedric_lee @alex_abair @lagoondon @csledge @danieldas @matthew_salkiewicz @loarie @tchester @hikingsandiego @aaronliston @smfang @cwarneke @kschoon @tiwane @birdgal5 @tmessick @morganstickrod @fjgregory @mrchasse @sedgequeen @milliebasden

Posted by jaesparza11 jaesparza11, July 21, 2021 19:43


Aren't all California plants fire-followers? ;-)

Posted by jdmore about 2 months ago (Flag)

They will be at this rate!!

Posted by silversea_starsong about 2 months ago (Flag)

OK. I looked at all your fire-following grasses. It was as frustrating an experience as trying to ID iNaturalist grasses usually is, increased because I really don't know Melica, which is obviously an important fire-follower in your area.

Posted by sedgequeen about 2 months ago (Flag)

Hey @sedgequeen, thank you for participating and helping out!

Posted by jaesparza11 about 2 months ago (Flag)

After a long 16 days, we finally have our results! Congratulations to our medalists and a huge thank you to everyone who participated! I hope that everyone enjoyed this challenge and stay tuned for more challenges coming soon! As a reminder, our Dog Days of August challenge has just started and will go all month! Check the link out for more details!

“track in field” Events
Gold: @silversea_starsong
Silver: @jrebman
Bronze: @grnleaf

Additional Events: Improving and leading IDs
Gold: @smfang
Silver: @silversea_starsong
Bronze: @jrebman

Posted by jaesparza11 about 1 month ago (Flag)

Would be amiss not to mention @boschniakia, since I saw their name in contributions and ID help more than anyone else's!

Posted by silversea_starsong about 1 month ago (Flag)

Thanks for the shoutout @silversea_starsong but I'm kind of on the IOC (Identification Organizing Committee) so I'm out of the running...

Posted by boschniakia about 1 month ago (Flag)

Still, you put a lot of time and expertise in this project, regardless.

Posted by silversea_starsong about 1 month ago (Flag)

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