September is Biodiversity Month and we’re encouraging everyone to get out and record the biodiversity of their backyards and local area. Over the weekend of the 25th – 28th September, the Great Southern BioBlitz will be held – a friendly competition to see which places can observe and record the most biodiversity. This year the event is international, with South America and Africa also taking part to make wildlife observations.
The purpose of the event is to highlight both the immense biodiversity spread across the southern hemisphere in the flourishing springtime, and to engage the public in science and nature learning.
GORCC Environmental Education Program Coordinator Pete Crowcroft has been working to organise the event with some other keen naturalists from around Australia.
“We wanted to create a biodiversity survey, or BioBlitz, for people in the southern hemisphere during spring, when the natural world is on full throttle,” Pete said.
“Flowers are blooming, insects are emerging, birds are singing, and reptiles are coming out of their winter hibernation. It makes sense for Australia and for the rest of the southern hemisphere to observe life at this time of year.”
Pete said the response from other countries has taken the team by surprise.
“We were really pleased when so many different countries in South America wanted to take part, we were really only expecting Australia to participate.”
“We have run September BioBlitz’s in the past, just for the local Surf Coast region. Last year we had a great result spotting nearly 400 species for the month. This year, competing against not only other areas in Geelong and Australia, but the southern hemisphere! I’m hoping people will get out in force to make observations of our many thousands of different species in this amazing biodiversity hotspot.”
“Usually we would be running activities to celebrate the month and having people get together to explore, but unfortunately we can’t do that this year. It is important that everyone complies with COVID safe regulations when participating in this BioBlitz, and also observes any sensitive species with care and respect, and a leave no trace approach,” Pete said.
To participate you will need to download the iNaturalist app onto your device, or upload pictures directly from your PC onto the website. If you take a picture of any plant or animal and upload it during the weekend, it will automatically be counted for the community, hopefully pushing the Surf Coast up the international leaderboard!
For more information and to get involved visit the Great Southern BioBlitz website: https://greatsouthernbiobl.wixsite.com/website or www.inaturalist.org which hosts a number of how-to videos in the help section.
The project website can be found here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/great-southern-bioblitz-2020-surf-coast