Coombe Bissett Down Virtual BioBlitz Join us on iNaturalist, from Saturday 24th April to Sunday 2nd May, for a virtual BioBlitz based at Coombe Bissett Down nature reserve! The person with the most recorded species will win a FREE annual membership! What is a BioBlitz? A BioBlitz is a communal “citizen-science” effort to record as many species as possible within a short space of time. This virtual event will be taking place at Coombe Bissett Down, a chalk grassland nature reserve located south west of Salisbury. BioBlitzes are an amazing way to connect with your local wildlife and generate useful data for science and conservation. They also help you to learn to identify different plants and animals that usually go unnoticed, and they are a lot of fun – especially if you have a competitive streak! Do I need to be an expert to take part? Not at all. We are hosting our event on iNaturalist, which is an online platform that allows nature enthusiasts to upload and organise observations of wildlife. The site and its dedicated community – made up of ecologists, naturalists, and general members of the public – will identify any observations that you upload. How do I take part? You will need a camera/smartphone and access to the internet (in the field or at home) to take part. If you are uploading observations on a smartphone, you may also want to use GPS location. Make an account iNaturalist is completely free to use and can be downloaded on your smartphone (from Google Play and Apple Store) or accessed on a computer: A Community for Naturalists · iNaturalist. Click ‘Sign Up’ and fill in your details. Your email address will not be shared with other iNaturalist users. Register with us! Please share your name, iNaturalist username and email address with us so that we can turn your observations into official records; this may inform how we manage Coombe Bissett Down in the future. Register today Join the Coombe Bissett Down Virtual BioBlitz Visit Coombe Bissett Down Virtual BioBlitz · iNaturalist or navigate to ‘Projects’ in the iNaturalist app and search ‘Coombe Bissett Down Virtual BioBlitz’. Then, click ‘Join’ and select your preferences. Start snapping! To accurately identify an observation, iNaturalist needs a photo (or audio clip), a time and a location. Visit Coombe Bissett Down nature reserve Between Saturday 24th April and Sunday 2nd May Please follow the relevant government guidelines Find any wild, living thing Plants, insects, birds, mammals, reptiles etc. No pets or livestock please! Take a photo for each species you find Use a camera or smartphone Make sure your photos are clear enough for other people to identify Upload your photos. You can either: Upload your photos as you go, using a smartphone and mobile data Stock up your photos and upload them back at home on a computer Select the time and date of each photo Most photos will fill in this information automatically Select the location of each photo. You can either: Use GPS location on your smartphone when you’re in the field Pin-point the location on the iNaturalist map afterwards As long as you’ve joined the project, all of your observations that fall within the timeframe of the event and the boundaries of Coombe Bissett Down nature reserve will automatically be filtered in. Watch the videos below for demonstrations on how to use the iNaturalist app and desktop site: What happens next? iNaturalist will automatically tally up the species count for the BioBlitz and produce leader boards of members with the most observations and the highest number of different species. Once the event is over, we will use this data to produce maps and a report and determine the winner of the competition! With your permission, we will also share the ecological data with Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre. More information about their work can be found here: Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre | Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. There’s a competition? Oh yes, there is! The registered adult and child with the highest confirmed species counts will receive a year's FREE Wiltshire Wildlife Trust membership or a FREE Wildlife Watch subscription, respectively. Sign up to win! Feel free to practice submitting observations before the event starts as these will go towards your personal collection, but please make sure you register with us below before the event ends. We also encourage people to have a go at identifying their own observations; here are some resources, which are tailored to the wildlife at Coombe Bissett Down, to help you out: Wildlife ID | Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Have fun, keep safe, follow government guidelines, and we look forward to seeing what you find! Register here for the virtual BioBlitz!