Memphis hosted its first ever "Urban BioBlitz"

The Memphis Wide Urban BioBlitz on April 9 invited community members to do real scientific investigations into their local, biological habitats. Memphians discovered the plants, animals and other organisms living in area parks -- including Lichterman Nature Center, Meeman Biological Station, and Overton Park -- and documented what they found with pictures.

Volunteer photographers captured photos of plants, birds, fungi, and especially insects at the different sites. BioBlitz coordinator, Jonathan Carpenter, said, "Our biodiversity project focuses on three general types of data – species lists, audio recordings, and very importantly, photographic data."

All biodiversity sightings were recorded on, a open-source, citizen-driven database. On the site, photos can be shared and species identified in a community of expert naturalists.

The event also featured demos and instructions at the sites. Professional scientists and naturalists worked side-by-side with citizens -- including youth and students -- to collect information.

The goal of the event was to identify as many species as possible.

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Anna is a local writer, editor and non-profit administrator. She serves as Managing Editor for High Ground and as the Director of Communications and Marketing for the New Memphis Institute. Share feedback and story ideas with her here.