Journal archives for June 2021

June 16, 2021

Pollinator Week Challenge

Pollinators perform a valuable ecosystem service and are critical to the success of plants after fires! Some pollinators may be more abundant after fire, following the flush of flowers. Pollinators may be flies, bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles, moths, ants, birds, bats, mice...wind and water don’t count for our challenge though.

This weekend is the start of Pollinator Week and the Fire Followers Project will be celebrating this year with our new pollinator challenge! This time, we will be partnering up with the Xerces Society to bring you an exclusive challenge and reward in addition to our very own!

Challenge Details:
Starting June 19-27, we encourage you all to go out and make as many observations as possible in any of the burn sites. Keep a close eye out for flowers being pollinated along your hike! This week, there will be an opportunity for 3 individuals to win a Fire Followers Pin! Here are the categories:

Most pollinator species observed:
Most observations of pollinators:
Most identifications of pollinators:

Xerces Society
Bumble Bee Watch Project
Like stated before, this year we are partnering with the Xerces Society to bring you more opportunities to be involved in community science efforts and for a chance to win some amazing prizes. In addition to our own challenges done on iNaturalist, we will also be utilizing the California Bumble Bee Atlas, which is one of several Xerces community science projects using the Bumble Bee Watch platform.

The California Bumble Bee Atlas is a community science project of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other partners. California is home to half of the bumblebee species found in North America, but there has never been a systematic survey of these important pollinators of wild and crop plants. At least 1/4 of the state's native bumble bees are now imperiled, and some have been proposed for state or federal Endangered Species Act listing. Building on the success of the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas, over the next three years, project volunteers will collect data on the distribution and diversity of California's bumble bees, creating a baseline dataset to which future conditions can be compared. Because bumble bees can usually be identified by experts from photos, volunteers will submit photos and other data to project coordinators, but will not have to destructively sample the bees themselves. The California Bumble Bee Atlas will give volunteers the opportunity to learn about the ecology and habitat needs of some of the state's native bees, and they will also make real contributions to scientific efforts to monitor and conserve these important insects. You can join the project by registering at

Challenge Details and Prizes
The Xerces Society will be awarding the top 5 contributors of bumble bee observations to the Bumble Bee Watch site. Winners will have Choices from these 3 books! (shown above!)
1)Attracting Native Pollinators
2)Plants to save the Bees
3)100 Plants to save the Monarchs

As a reminder, in addition to uploading your observations on iNaturalist, be sure to also submit your observations to the Bumble Bee Watch Platform in order to have an opportunity to win! Be sure to head over and sign up to upload your Bumble Bee observations!

Submitting a Sighting in the Bumble Bee Watch Project is easy!
1)Head over to and create an account
2)Take a photo (Just like you would do for iNaturalist)
3)Identify your species
4)Sighting will be verified by an expert

Instructions on signing up and uploading your observations are here:

Please feel free to contact me at for any questions! I look forward to seeing all of your observations!

Posted on June 16, 2021 17:08 by jaesparza11 jaesparza11 | 1 comment | Leave a comment

June 02, 2021

Weed Week Challenge

Native wildflowers aren’t the only plants that respond to fire--sometimes weed seeds sprout or blow into burned areas. Some can even increase the frequency of fire in the future, or impact how native plants recover, so it’s important to track non-native species’ response too! Sunday, June 5th is the start of Invasive Species Action Week(June 5-13) and we will be partnering up with the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to bring you all some new prizes to win during our weekly challenge!

Challenge Details:
Starting this Weekend, we encourage you all to go out and make as many observations as possible in any of the burn sites. There will be 5 opportunities for participants to win a CAL-IPC hat! Here are the rules for each category:

Most observations of non-native plants
Most identifications of non-native plants
Top observer of Spanish, French, Scotch or Portugese broom
Top observer of Cenchrus setaceus/Pennisetum setaceum, fountain grass
Top observer of Centaurea solstitialis, yellow starthistle

In addition to the main 5 winners, we will also be holding a raffle for those who have joined the project so far and made at least one observation of a non-native plant during the challenge! We will be raffling out 10 stickers and 10 luggage tags to 10 randomly selected winners! Just remember to join and trust the project before the end of the competition!

Best of luck to everyone!

Posted on June 02, 2021 20:27 by jaesparza11 jaesparza11 | 3 comments | Leave a comment

June 29, 2021

Geophyte Club

Geophyte Club

Geophyte Club Challenge
The first rule of Geophyte Club is: You DO NOT talk about Geophyte Club
The second rule of Geophyte Club is: You DO NOT talk about Geophyte Club…
Geophytes are perennial plants that store resources in underground organs: usually bulbs in a broad sense, but also tubers, corms or rhizomes. They can wait out drought or poor growing conditions underground and emerge when the time is right.

What makes some geophytes fire followers? Geophytes survive burning because the storage organs are below ground protected from burning, but they also emerge en masse after fire from chemical or light cues, particularly in chaparral. One of the first plants to respond this year was soaproot (Chlorogalum), and we’ve seen amazing displays of geophytes of all types through this whole year.

Challenge Details:
Starting this week on Wednesday June 30, 2021 we will be holding our Geophyte Club challenge! As always, we strongly encourage you all to go out and make observations, however, this week we will be focusing on identifications! You will have until July 7th to make as many identifications as possible! We will be focusing specifically the following:
Asparagales (Agaves/Lilies, Orchids, Irises, and Allies)
Manroots (Marah)

The search links above will direct you to a list of those specific plants.
The top 3 identifiers of the listed plants above will be rewarded with a Fire Followers Shirt!

You’re tagged in this post because you are among some of the top identifiers for Asparagales and we hope you take part in helping identify some of the observations made so far!

1) As a reminder, even if you do not know the species, you can help by identifying the observation to a finer level such as identifying the family, which is extremely helpful for others. Also, feel free to use the comment section to let others know what you're thinking! There are also approximately 18,800 observations that need an ID! Out of those 18,800, ~80 Marah need ID and ~780 are Asparagales of which we are considering Agaves/Lilies, Orchids, Irises, and Allies.

2)You can help by confirming IDs that have already been made, refining IDs from general to more specific and correcting mis-identifications. The Suggestions tab will offer similar plants seen in the area--make sure you check it’s a good match.
3) To find likely mis-identifications, look at the Species tab of one of the fire areas you know pretty well. Scroll down to the bottom and look at the plants that only have one or two observations. Check on any out of range observations or plants you know are ornamental.

@rupertclayton @jrebman @graysquirrel @catchang @grnleaf @rynxs @arethusa @cwbarrows @matt_g @afid @sganley @kueda @catullus @jlmartin @finatic @lallen @lagoondon @birgitknorr @yuriydanilevsky @efmer @morganstickrod @boschniakia @arboretum_amy @diego4nature @paloma
@kevinhintsa @andyjones1 @glmory @charlie @serpophaga @loarie @ronvanderhoff @susanmf @oxalismtp @blue_celery @smfang @danieldas @cedric_lee @lonnyholmes @najera_tutor @birdgal5 @tiwane @rynaturalist @hikingsandiego @nelruzam @sapienshane @snakeinmypocket @sekihiker @nofrakes @milliebasden

Posted on June 29, 2021 15:59 by jaesparza11 jaesparza11 | 7 comments | Leave a comment