Explorers of all ages and backgrounds can participate in the Great Salish Sea BioBlitz, a biodiversity scavenger hunt that requires only a smart phone and beach access. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Salish Sea scavenger hunt turns participants into citizen scientists

Public invited to join the Great Salish Sea BioBlitz

In an explosion of citizen science, an upcoming event will bring together families, researchers, students, teachers and others to explore and identify the biodiversity of the Salish Sea.

From July 3 to 12, the public is invited to participate in the Great Salish Sea BioBlitz, an outdoor educational experience that requires only beach access and a smart phone.

Hosted by Ocean Bridge and the Georgia Strait Alliance, the Great Salish Sea BioBlitz is a wilderness scavenger hunt to try to identify as many species as possible in a short time frame. And those discoveries are endless – the sea is home to roughly 37 species of mammals, 172 species of birds, 253 species of fish and more than 3,000 invertebrate species.

READ ALSO: Sidney aquarium names new octopus after Dr. Bonnie Henry

Participants contribute to citizen science, all while learning more about their local environment.

“This helps give us a snapshot of an area’s diversity of wildlife, or biodiversity, and it’s a great way to contribute to citizen science in your community while maintaining safe physical distance protocols,” say organizers.

Using the iNaturalist app to record data, participants simply take photos and the app will automatically generate a suggestion. Users can also submit the photo without a label so other app-users can identify the species.

The BioBlitz will also include a speaker series exploring different aspects of diversity in the Salish Sea including Indigenous knowledge, inter-sectional identity and barriers to ocean spaces.

The event is free, but to get easy access to required links, participants can register on Eventbrite. Once you have downloaded iNaturalist, find and sign up for the Salish Sea BioBlitz project.

READ ALSO: Rare white orca spotted in Strait of Juan de Fuca on Saturday

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