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Bioblitz challenge set to start Thursday

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | June 7, 2022 1:00 AM

Did you miss out on the first bioblitz held this spring? Or just had so much fun that you wish it hadn't ended?

You're in luck. As a follow-up to City Nature Challenge that took place this spring, additional bioblitz events are being held, a summer bioblitz that is being held this week and a fall bioblitz set for mid-September.

"The idea all along has been for the City Nature Challenge: Bonner County to use the international City Nature Challenge platform as a springboard to give people tools to document nature using the free iNaturalist and Seek apps, and then to encourage them to do so year-round," regional CNC organizer George Gehring said. "To notice the seasonal phenological changes that occur … even if it’s only on their own property."

For both the summer and fall event, there will be two eco-regional challenges competing against each other: the Northern Rocky Mountain Biodiversity Challenges in Idaho, Washington, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, British Columba and Alberta, encompassing the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor (the “mountain folk”), and the Prairie Biodiversity Challenges in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories (the “flat landers”), with a total of 75 altogether, Gehring said.

The summer bioblitz, which is begins Thursday and continues through Sunday, is taking place in several regions in the Northern Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and Canada.

Bonner County is among those taking part in the summer Northern Rocky Mountain Biodiversity Challenge. Observations need to be made between 12:01 a.m. on Thursday and midnight Sunday, June 12.

Participating in the challenge is easy, organizers said. First download the iNaturalist app. After downloading the free app, go online to iNaturalist.org and set up an account. To set up an account, you must be at least 13 years old.

Then it's just a matter of heading outdoors and take photos or wild plants or animals anywhere in the map area. If the plants or animals are not wild, they should be marked as captive or cultivated.The photos are then uploaded to iNaturalist and participants get learn more as their photos are identified by the iNaturalist community.

Among the activities planned are a focused plant walk on June 10, starting at 10 a.m., at the Rapid Lightning Creek IDFG property just east of the Pack River. To get to the site, drive on Rapid Lightning Road, just past the Pack River Store and bridge, turn right on Ginter Road and park on the left about 1/4 mile south.

Derek Antonelli, president of the Calypso Chapter of the Idaho Native Plant Society, will lead the bioblitz at this site.

A second bioblitz outing for the summer, this one take place along the Priest River south of Priest Lake, has been organized by Paul Sieracki for Sunday, June 12. Those interested should meet at the Priest Lake Visitor Center, located on the east side of Highway 57, just before Dickensheet Campground, at 9 a.m. for a 9:15 departure.

The outing will be a 3-mile hike, visiting the Oxbow Research Natural Area, a moist forest habitat, with an old beaver dam and interesting plants.

As with City Nature Challenge, all photos taken during the NRMBC bioblitz will be posted in iNaturalist.

If this summer NRMBC event is successful, Gehring said another will be held in the fall, from Sept. 15-18.

"There is no trophy to be won, just bragging rights to see which of the eco-regional challenges can get the most people per capita to participate," he added.

Information: bit.ly/3Mkd66y

photo

(Courtesy illustration)

An illustration showing the types of habitat found on the Idaho Department of Fish & Game's property in the Rapid Lightning Creek area just east of the Pack River. The site is the location of a bioblitz starting Thursday.

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