Encountering California Biodiversity Close to Home

California has pledged to make all students environmentally and climate change literate. Outdoor education, fieldwork, and deeper connections with place need to be built into K-12 education to make that happen.Logo for California Biodiversity Day 2020 features sunglasses with butterfly perched on framesAs part of this year’s recognition of California Biodiversity Day (September 7, 2020), the California Geographic Alliance is organizing students across the state to become Biodiversity Explorers and Mappers. In the interest of developing environmental literacy and stewardship in all young people, this will be an opportunity for close observation and appreciation of the amazing diversity of organisms present in our state, which is a global biodiversity hotspot. Using the citizen science platform iNaturalist, students will document plants, animals, insects, and other organisms that they observe in their yards, school grounds, or local parks and open spaces. In addition to the individual observations contributing to science, the collective efforts of students will be shared in a unique map using online mapping software (ArcGIS Online) that is freely available to all schools.

Optional informational webinar on 9/3/2020 at 3:45 p.m. (Slides from webinar are available here)

Project links:
Media release
Instructions for participating 
Flyer for project and 9/3 webinar
California biodiversity collage

iNaturalist project page