28 Oct 2020

The Big Brum BioBlitz goes into Hibernation

Launched on the 26th May, the Big Brum BioBlitz was all about encouraging families, young people and adults to explore their natural environment and carry out their very own BioBlitz! As we were spending more time in our homes, nature was taking over our city, giving us chance to get involved in environmental science and record what was happening – and the people of Birmingham didn’t need much persuading! Our iNaturalist project page saw 620 new species identified during the BioBlitz!

The purpose of this was to support our audiences through lockdown and help them enjoy their outside spaces, and an opportunity to help with STEM learning and it was important to consider the different outside spaces, not everyone has a back garden.

First of all I would like to start by saying a huge thank you to everyone for getting involved in our Big Brum BioBlitz. When Thinktank closed in March it was a big task to change our engagement programmes planned for this year to digital alternatives, but the Big Brum BioBlitz has been lovely outcome. The BioBlitz has given Birmingham Museums Trust an opportunity to engage with many more people, connect with other organisations, support our audiences and create new volunteer opportunities. So here is a little summary of our achievements.

What did we do?

To kick off the programme we created an animated video, shown above, (that has reached 3,350 people on Facebook and Twitter) and launched two blogs 'The Big Brum BioBlitz' and 'How to BioBlitz.'

Regular social media posts were seen on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

An iNaturalist project page was set up that has seen 2,476 species identified – an increase of 620 species since we began the BioBlitz!

We promoted the project on BBC WM radio, with an interview by Daz Hale in July.

And most importantly made a Big Brum BioBlitz Volunteer Team who have volunteers over 100 hours of their time!

Volunteer team

Our digital volunteer team have done a huge amount of work – creating 8 blogs that have reached 1,043 People (as of the 14th October 2020), and you still have time to check them out! See all the BioBlitz blogs.

You can find stories of personal experiences in Bob’s 'Crazy Coots', Peter and Mike’s 'Beetling About ' blog or Robert’s personal ‘My Big Brum BioBlitz', top tips with Howard’s 'Top identification websites'and insights into environmental experiences that happen every year by having a read of Nicola’s 'Flying Ant Day.'I have really enjoyed reading all about their experiences and ways to encourage others to take part.

Emily has also done a fantastic job creating posts every Friday with activities for families to get involved with.

Screenshots from 4 BioBlitz blogs

Social Media

Social media has seen over 70,000 people engaging with #BigBrumBioBlitz! Through Facebook and Twitter posts we have been able to share ideas, activities and the work of other organisations, pointing people to things they can get involved in such at the #ButterflyCount and #CityNatureChallenge. Don’t forget to keep an eye for them in 2021!

In collaboration with the UK Association of Science and Discovery Centres we took part in their #scienceunlocked scheme where Professor Alice Roberts did a virtual tour of the UK’s science centres promoting their digital content. For this we chose to highlight the Big Brum BioBlitz – her one tweet receiving 30 retweets and 107 likes, thanks Professor Alice!

Twitter analytics and Tweet by Professor Alice Roberts

We can’t forget Instagram. It has been great to see such lovely images been shared, showing the importance of looking after our environment and encouraging biodiversity.

Photographs on Instagram tagged with #BigBrumBioBlitz

Overall, this has been a hugely successful project, and you have all been an important part of that. Creating awareness for environmental science and biodiversity is an extremely important topic that will hopefully continue to be discussed, making a healthier and sustainable world for everyone to enjoy. Moving forward we plan to bring back the Big Brum BioBlitz bigger than ever in 2021 – so watch this space!