Citizen Science: Calling All Science Buffs
YOU'RE INVITED! On Sat., May 25, 2013, join us for a special family science day at Lake Lagunitas. Click here for more information.
Documenting changes in plant diversity on Mt. Tamalpais: How you can help!
Over the past century of MMWD's stewardship, great changes have taken place in the types of plants that grow on Mt. Tamalpais and where those plants grow. We have seen species come and go and shift their locations or flowering times. In the coming century we will see even more changes.
To mark the district's centennial in 2012, we started a series of projects to create a "snapshot" cataloging current plant life on the watershed. We will use this snapshot to compare against past records as well as a baseline against which future change will be measured. To accomplish this, the district has partnered with the California Academy of Sciences, the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory and the California Native Plant Society. We need your help! Please join us.
A bioblitz is a focused survey in a defined location that attempts to document all species present. With more than 18,000 acres of land and thousands of species in the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed, we know we cannot document everything at once. Taking a more targeted approach, we will focus on plant species in specific areas of MMWD property. These surveys will also include systematic specimen collection, including photos and GPS coordinates for each specimen. These collections and associated data will be added to the California Academy of Science's research collections and will serve as the beginnings of a new baseline of Mt. Tamalpais botanic diversity. In addition, the new findings will be compared to historic collections in order to document any shifts in ranges or distributions.
The multi-year effort has brought together botanical experts from around the Bay Area and more than 80 volunteer "citizen scientists." During the four bioblitz survey days held in 2012, participants recorded more than 700 observations comprising over 300 kinds of plants—close to 40 percent of the estimated 900 plant species living on the watershed. We are optimistic that 2013 will provide us with another great year of bioblitzes, but we need your help!
2013 Bioblitz Schedule
Come join us in 2013 for the second of this three-year project. We'll start off with an evening orientation on Wednesday, February 20 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Field training will take place on Saturday, February 23. Surveys will run monthly through August. The sites for this year's surveys will be near the Sky Oaks Ranger Station in Fairfax and will include diverse plant assemblages, interesting weeds and epic views! Pre-registration is required. Please contact email@example.com or 415/945-1128.
Read one participant's experience here: http://www.calacademy.org/sciencetoday/citizen-science-on-mt-tam/
The Mt. Tamalpais bioblitz is part of a larger citizen science project at the Cal Academy. Click here to view a presentation of this project by Terrence M. Gosliner, Dean of Science and Research Collections at the California Academy of Sciences.
Click here to see the page on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed biodiversity survey.
Click here to play a video showing a day in the life of a bioblitzer, narrated by Jacoba Charles for KWMR Radio.
Rare Plant Treasure Hunts
The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt (RPTH) is a volunteer program started by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) that was designed to get people excited about rare plant conservation as well as to gather important data on rare plants around the state. Almost half of the rare plant populations in California have not been documented in more than 20 years, and recent data is needed to ensure their long-term conservation. Volunteer botanists -- both amateurs and experts -- search for and document historical and new rare plant populations.
This year MMWD and CNPS are teaming up to bring the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt to Mt. Tamalpais to celebrate MMWD's centennial anniversary. Come explore parts of the mountain that you've never seen before, learn about Mt. Tamalpais' unique rare plants and improve your botanical skills. Each trip starts mid-morning and lasts 4-6 hours. Dates and trip descriptions are available on the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt event calendar at http://www.cnps.org/cnps/rareplants/treasurehunt/calendar.php and more information can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
California lady's slipper orchid has not been seen on Mt.Tamalpais in nearly 100 years. Click image for larger version. (Source: Jepson Herbarium)