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26 May 2020

The Big Brum BioBlitz

Nature is taking over! As we spend more time in our homes we want to encourage families, young people and adults to explore their natural environment and carry out their very own BioBlitz! #BigBrumBioblitz

What is a BioBlitz?

A BioBlitz focuses on a specific area, finding and identifying as many species as possible in a short period of time giving a snapshot of the area’s biodiversity. We don’t want to put a limit on your BioBlitz but encourage you to keep exploring and discovering over the coming months to see how the biodiversity in your home changes with the season.

A BioBlitz can be done anywhere; it doesn’t matter how big or small your garden is; all you have to do is record what you find. No garden? Not a problem! Look out your window, what trees or birds can you see? Plant wildflowers on your windowsill or use a birdfeeder to encourage the wildlife to come to you.

What is the point?

Plants and animals in our environment carry out important activities to keep our ecosystem working, like pollinating crops and flowers, clearing waste and recycling nutrients in the soil. What’s more they clean the air we breathe, water we drink and soak up carbon dioxide in the atmosphere! It gives us things to explore and learn about, a planet to enjoy!

Importantly BioBlitz’s don’t just finish after some time in the garden. The data people collect can also be shared with regional wildlife data collecting programmes and apps which all help us better understand the world around us and our contribution to it.

Ann Phillips started to collected data from her garden in Walsall in 1976, she observed and kept records of flowers, trees, birds, insects and amphibians. The data showed events happening between 4 and 39 days earlier from 1976 to 2001, and also a bigger change between species of general plants and insects than that of birds. This sort of information helps to inform and develop adaptation strategies for a warming climate.

Where to start

Observe

Take a look out your window or have a wander around your garden, remember to take your time: some bugs might be hiding, what animals and plants can you find? Try looking under stones, plant pots or bushes. Being observant in your surrounding is key! You can also try different times of the day, set an alarm for sunrise or stay up late, is there a difference in what you see or find?

Record

Have a paper and pen at the ready! Write down the different species you find and take a photo (you could even make a sketch!). Don’t forget to make a note of the date as environmental scientists can track changes in plants and animals from this, for example we are now noticing that plants such as Elder trees are flowering about 11 days earlier than they did 40 years ago.

Identify

Download the iNaturalist App and add any photos you have taken; fellow nature explorers can help to identify any species you are unsure about. This database can then be used by environmental scientists to find out what is happening in local areas.

For younger members of the family try Seek by iNaturalist instead, it is designed to help families explore nature and you can get involved in challenges to earn a badge.

Share

Share your discoveries and questions WITH US on social media! We would love to know what you have found and see your photos, sketches or ideas to encourage wildlife into your home.

For Twitter please tag @thinktankmuseum with #BigBrumBioblitz
Facebook: @thinktankmuseum with #BigBrumBioblitz
Instagram: @thinktankmuseum with #BigBrumBioblitz

If you would like us to add the photos for you please email them to blitz@birminghammuseums.org.uk and let us know where the photo was taken and what species you have found (don’t worry if you are not sure, we will try and help). It’s important you get permission from anyone shown in your images before sharing with us.

We would love to build up a gallery of discoveries. #BigBrumBioblitz

More Information

For more information on The Big Brum BioBlitz, including hints and tips, then take look at our BioBlitz blogs.

Images