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Author: Jennifer Forman Orth

Invading your brain since 2002.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Practice Random Sampling And Sensless Acts Of Volunteerism!  

Are you an arthropod aficionado, or are you quick with the macro lens? If you're into nature and curious about how invasive plants play a part in it, consider joining the Life on the Japanese Knotweed or Life on the Purple Loosestrife project. I started those groups through the photo-sharing website Flickr as a way to collect data about the fauna and flora that use invasive plants. Now, this coming Wednesday (June 20th) from 6pm-7pm EDT, I will be presenting a live "poster" to demonstrate how these projects work, using my laptop and a wireless internet connection, at a poster session for a Citizen Science Conference at Cornell University.

Can you be around from 6-7pm EDT on June 20th to help id insects and other creatures that are posted to the group, to comment on and tag photos, or to contribute photos sometime that day? During the poster session the Flickr pages will be projected on a wall and I'll be refreshing frequently and letting the conference attendees explore the photo pages. I am even hoarding some images that I will be posting around 6pm to be sure there is proper fodder for id :-).

My goal for the live poster is twofold:

  1. Demonstrate that a crew of Citizen Scientists can work together to investigate valid scientific questions (in this case, What species utilize Japanese knotweed and purple loosestrife? and How does data collected by widely dispersed volunteers compare to similar studies done by rigorous local sampling?)
  2. Demonstrate that identification of flora and fauna can often be done simply and quickly if you get the right person to take a look (it really can, we do it on ID Please all the time!).
There is already a pretty amazing crew of amateur and professional naturalists at Flickr but the two groups could really use more members to help id and to contribute photos, especially people from countries other than the USA and where Japanese knotweed and purple loosestrife are native. If you want to participate but need a reminder email, just leave a comment here or send me an email.

Feel free to cross-post this if you are inclined to spread the word. (Citizens must be getting sick of all these requests for their help doing science!)

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My skills are with plants, so I wouldn't be any help with insects, but I have to say I followed your link to ID Please, and I'm thrilled. What a great way to share knowledge! I'm definitely hooked. I need to come back when I have a few hours to get lost. Thanks for posting the link, and I'll keep my eye out for insects on invasives. Maybe I can contribute to the Life ons in the future.

By Blogger BerryBird, at 6/15/2007 07:48:00 AM  

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