From the microscopic water bear to a 6-foot long harbor porpoise, island species were counted as part of a 24-hour citizen science marathon last weekend.
More than 750 Vashon School District students and 105 members of the public, led by 18 scientists and expert naturalists (including a bat specialist visiting from Australia who helped identify two previously unrecorded bat species for the island!) scoured forests, ponds, marshes, fields, beaches and Puget Sound for as many island species as they could find to provide a glimpse of biodiversity on the island. The geographic area surveyed included the Chautauqua Elementary School forest and ponds, Ellis Creek, Ellisport Creek and Tramp Harbor.
At press time, the center had tallied 295 species without all observation teams yet reporting — staff estimates the total to reach at least 400.
This was the first time the group did live uploads of species records to an online citizen science network. To see hundreds of photos of your island neighbor critters, visit iNaturalist.org and search for Tramp Harbor BioBlitz. For more on island BioBlitzes, visit vashonnaturecenter.org.
— Kathryn True, outreach and program manager for the Vashon Nature Center.