An update on the WeDigFLPlants project

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On August 8, 2017, leadership from some of the largest plant-focused communities in Florida met in iDigBio’s Gainesville conference space to plot the future of the WeDigFLPlants project. Attendees represented the major herbaria in Florida, as well as the Florida Native Plant Society, Florida Wildflower Foundation, Florida Master Naturalists Program, Florida Master Gardeners Program, Notes from Nature, Biospex, and iDigBio, the US NSF’s National Resource for Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections.

The WeDigFLPlants project seeks to engage the public in digital data creation about the million+ plant specimens collected in Florida over the past 200 years for the benefit of science, society, and the flora. These plant specimens are each labelled with the who, what, when, and where from the collection event. About 570 WeDigFLPlants participants have produced 28,000 transcriptions of those labels at Notes from Nature to date.   WeDigFLPlants organizers seek to provide a rich learning (and sometimes social) experience for participants through its dashboard, Twitter account, educational resources (e.g., http://www.cpalms.org/Public/PreviewResourcePerspectivesVideo/Preview/166547 and www.cpalms.org/Public/PreviewResourcePrespectiveVideo/Preview/166555), and onsite events during WeDigBio (e.g., https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fsus-wedigflplants-digitization-blitz-fri-tickets-37342927702).

What does the future hold? Expect to see more Notes from Nature expeditions tailored to the interests of the membership of each of Florida’s plant-focused groups. Expect to see more educational modules that incorporate Notes from Nature activities aligned to these groups’ existing education portfolios. And expect to see WeDigFLPlants-branded incentives. We are actively seeking financial sponsors—please let us know if you are interested.

Together we can build the historical baseline with which to understand the current and future diversity and distribution of Florida’s 4700+ species. Thank you, if you have contributed to a WeDigFLPlants expedition. There are currently two active expeditions on Notes from Nature: one focused on the sedges of the Florida Panhandle, and one focused on the grasses of the Florida Peninsula. Join in today!

To learn more about WeDigFLPlants, contact Austin Mast (amast@bio.fsu.edu) or Jillian Goodwin (jvgoodwin@fsu.edu).

 

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