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Land Between the Lakes BioBlitz offers citizen science opportunity for the public this fall

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Murray State University’s Watershed Studies Institute (WSI) and the Friends of Land Between the Lakes (LBL) are teaming up to host a BioBlitz at the LBL National Recreation Area from September 19 — November 15, 2020. This citizen science activity invites participants to visit LBL to document sightings of wildlife and plants throughout the fall season. The BioBlitz uses an app called iNaturalist, and will help compile up-to-date information about the natural community in LBL.

All that is needed to participate is a smartphone or digital camera and a willingness to spend some time in LBL. Participants will take photos of observations such as insects, birds, wildflowers and more, and upload them to the LBL BioBlitz project page on iNaturalist. Participants can search for “LBL BioBlitz” in iNaturalist, or go directly to the page at: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/land-between-the-lakes-bioblitz.

The iNaturalist app is a free download, and there is no fee to participate.

The BioBlitz offers outdoor enthusiasts, students and home-educating families a COVID-friendly activity for fall. Not only is it an opportunity to get outside and learn through exploration, but it is also a chance to contribute to a scientific project.

Dr. Howard Whiteman, Professor of Biological Sciences and WSI Director, said “A BioBlitz is a great way to engage the community in citizen science, learn about nature and get outside for some socially-distanced fresh air, particularly during a pandemic. We are also very hopeful that the observations collected by the participants will help LBL biologists and land managers make more informed conservation and management decisions in the future, and perhaps spark new research opportunities for Murray State students, staff and faculty members as well.”

For more information or questions about participating, please contact either the Woodlands Nature Station at mwest@friendsoflbl.org or LBL’s volunteer coordinator at volunteer@friendsoflbl.org.