A BioBlitz is an event that brings people together in your community to identify wildlife species in a local area. This gives local conservationists (that's you) and scientists information about what species are present and how they're faring, and is an opportunity for participants to learn about and connect with nature.
Participants spend time in nature making observations of the local wildlife, and recording what they see in iNaturalist.
Scout your local area for good patches of nature that are accessible for participants. If you are revegetating an area as part of your nature outreach project, running a BioBlitz on site is a great way to measure your impact as more species rewild the area. Check in with the relevant holder about your event so they are informed, and in case they have any tips or contacts in the area that they can share.
Collaborating with local conservation groups such as Landcare or Friends Of groups that are active in your area is a great way to expand your networks and draw on local expertise that you may not have (yet!). Approach a group for an initial discussion to see if co-hosting an event would be a good fit.
Having local experts attend your BioBlitz on the day is a great way for you and participants to learn more about nature around them. Local experts can be found in conservation networks like Landcare or Friends Of groups, working as biodiversity officers at the local council, or they may be studying or teaching at a nearby TAFE or university. You may ask them to simply attend, or ask them to lead a survey group on the day.
It's a good idea to make a 'project' in iNaturalist for your BioBlitz day. We recommend making a project that is bound by the location and date, e.g. 'Spring Manly Dam BioBlitz, 2022'. You can choose to make participants join the project for their sightings to be included, but it's not necessary as any sighting made in that location on that date will be automatically included.
The beauty of a BioBlitz is that you really only need people, a location, and iNaturalist. You can make the event itself as simple or as complex as you like. Some simple elements to include are:
Welcome your guests, acknowledge country, introduce your volunteers and run through using iNaturalist on the day
A good set-up is for participants to spend time at different 'stations' with a local expert at each one. For example, a section of track on site might be dedicated to looking for birds, another section for plants etc. You can suggest participants rotate stations at regular intervals, and ask volunteer leaders to help make the swap-overs go smoothly. Another option is to have participants spread out on-site with local expert guides wandering around to answer questions or point out unique wildlife.
Bring everyone back together at the end to chat about what they saw, share highlights of the day, and to share details of upcoming events. You might have a picnic or BBQ after so folks can stay and chat, and get to know one another.
Thank your attendees for joining and share the impact you had together on the day - including how many people, how many observations made, and anything rare or unusual that you saw. Invite people to your next event at the same time. This might be a weeding day at the same site, a nature walk, or a picnic. It's best practice to have the next event ready to promote ahead of time.
BioBlitzes are a valuable exercise to undertake regularly! Not necessarily frequently, but regularly. A good rhythm could be four per year, or once a season, to see how things change.
Chocolate lily, central Victoria. Photo: Vivienne Hamilton
Collating the data and presenting it to local decision makers can be a powerful way to protect nature. Demonstrating the presence of rare species, trends over time, or a change in species abundance can tell a tale of how nature is faring locally and encourage decision makers to act to protect it. Knowing that members of their community are monitoring nature expresses its importance to decision makers.
Here are some templates to help get you started. To use them, you can make a copy of the file and save to your own Google Drive, or download the file to your computer.