A BioBlitz focuses on observing and identifying various species in a specific area over a short period of time to provide a “snapshot” of species diversity. This citizen science event also develops baseline data for the Conservancy and local community that can be used to observe change over time.
The iNaturalist smartphone app enhanced the BioBlitz experience, allowing participants to record their findings and connect with other nature enthusiasts. While surveying the area, participants also hiked the Mesa Loop trail, taking in the refreshing panoramic view that stretches from Black Star Canyon and Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve to Cleveland National Forest. Irvine Ranch Conservancy staff and volunteers were present every step of the way to provide any help with directions and identification.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy Program Specialist, Ashley Tirona emphasizes that BioBlitzes not only produce biological inventories, but bring people together outdoors to experience the natural beauty around them.
“Our goal is to involve members of the community in the discovery process of science, so they will develop knowledge and appreciation for science and nature, producing more environmentally literate citizens and inspiring the next generation of scientists and naturalists,” Tirona said.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy invites the community to explore the Landmarks and learn more about the local environment through many of the free interpretive programs hosted on the lands.
Nature lovers can spot local native and seasonal resident birds during the Bird Walk at Mason Regional Park on Sunday, May 19 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. This easy 2-mile walk will venture through a landscaped suburban parkland, which makes for the perfect setting for bird watching. Wear hiking or walking shoes and don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
Enjoy a brisk 2-mile hike through Santiago Oaks during a Guided Nature Hike on Sunday, June 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. While participants watch for raptors, birds and other wildlife, an experienced docent will explain the surrounding Santa Ana mountain landscape and fire history of the area.
End your day with a quiet walk through the calming canyons as you Hike, Look and Listen through Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park on Thursday, June 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Take in the cool evening temperature on a tranquil evening walk while watching for soaring red-tailed hawks, listening to the quiet voice of the birds or inhaling the fragrance of fresh sage.
For more information on upcoming interpretive activities like the BioBlitz, visit LetsGoOutside.org. Programs are open to the public with required registration, but space is limited, and early registration is recommended.