Help protect our biosphere (while having fun)
You can easily help to protect the Kogelberg Biosphere
– and have loads of fun in the process. And locals and visitors alike are invited to get involved, to try their hand at some citizen science.
Getting involved is as simple as taking photographs of plants, animals and fungi whenever you walk around your neighbourhood, on our beaches and in our mountains. These can then be uploaded as observations to the free iNaturalist app on your phone or at www.inaturalist.org on your computer.
In this way, you help collect biodiversity data from our area on an ongoing basis, adding to a database of information on the animals and plants of the biosphere.
The Kogelberg Biosphere has chosen iNaturalist as our tool to collect data on nature, to help us run our nature-based programmes successfully. This is the same platform used for the bioblitzes – it’s simple to use and brilliant at identifying what you have photographed.
Why do we need these observations?
Well – a number of reasons … here are some of them:
– to manage our wildlife programmes more efficiently
– to learn what alien vegetation there is and where these invaders are flourishing
– to collect data over many years to spot trends and put actions in place where needed
– to identify threats to our biodiversity
– to vastly increase the amounts of data used to monitor and protect species and areas of conservation concern, which will improve the models used to inform decision-making.
Our three iNat projects
There are three new projects that the Kogelberg Biosphere has created for this purpose. All observations made within the borders of the Kogelberg Biosphere, including past, present and future loaded to iNat at any time by anyone, are automatically pulled into these:
Hermanus summerlily (Gladiolus carmineus). Image by © fredbont, iNaturalist
Wildlife (all vertebrates)
Arumlily reed frog (Hyperolius horstockii). Image by © Rob Holst, iNaturalist
Ram’s horn squid (Spirula spirula). Image by © andrewcraigvester, iNaturalist
[Please note: For an observation to be included in the Deceased wildlife project, it needs to be loaded as normal and then, once loaded, marked as Dead in the Annotations box. This box is located in the right-hand column underneath the map and Community Taxon on your computer, and in the information tab underneath the map and Data Quality on your phone.]
Enjoy our beautiful biosphere, while giving a little back – by recording all the flora and fauna you see (photographs as well as sounds, such as frog or bird calls, can be uploaded). By working together, we can collect an enormous amount of valuable information for the scientists and specialists to use. And it’s never too early or too late to start.
Remember, we’re participants in the international City Nature Challenge as well as the Great Southern Bioblitz each year. Your observations during these bioblitzes not only contribute to our understanding of our area, but also help put us on the international map as a hotspot for nature.
Tips for observations
- You don’t need to know or be able to identify something in order to upload it to the project. There are experts who will help with this once you’ve uploaded.
- Zoom in / take close-up shots to make sure the subject can be identified. Clear shots help!
- Always check that your phone or camera’s location or GPS function is turned on before you start taking photos, and that your date and time is correct. If you use a computer, make sure all the metadata is included whenever you transfer your photos.
- Take multiple angles where possible: e.g. underneath as well as on top of a flower, the leaves, the habitat; the front, back and side of insects or mammals, etc.
- Remember to only load one specimen (with multiple photos where available) per observation. If you find another one of the same type, make a separate observation. If you go back a couple of days later and photograph the same specimen, make a new observation.
- If you photograph a bush with flowers of a different species poking through the branches and a beetle on one of the leaves, upload the same image three times and make three different observations: (1. Bush, 2. Unrelated Flower, 3. Beetle).
- If you observed something that is not wild, like a plant in your garden, make sure to mark it as captive/cultivated.
- Observations of humans and their pets are strongly discouraged.
- If you don’t know what your photograph is of, and none of the suggestions seem to fit, then please enter a more general identification like “bird” or “fish” rather than leaving it blank.
Images: LoveGreen Communications
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The Betty’s Bay Hack Group, the oldest in South Africa, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. It all started in February 1963 when Denys Heesom challenged Betty’s Bay residents to join him in tackling the alien vegetation encroaching on the Betty’s Bay fynbos.
On Sunday 4 April, the Kogelberg Biosphere Wildlife Rescue (KBWR) team, with the assistance of the Overstrand Municipality, members of the public and Betty’s Bay
You can take the next step, to become even more involved in the Kogelberg Biosphere.
And remember to include us in your social media posts, by using the hashtag: #BiosphereLiving.