Archive by Author | mwdenslow

WeDigBio 2018 Day 3 summary

WeDigBio 2018 day 3 was another big one at Notes from Nature. Notes from Nature received 2,727 transcriptions which is way above our daily average. So far we are over 14,000 transcriptions for the entire event!

We saw four expeditions with over 200 transcriptions during day 3. At the top were the Fantastic Ferns! Celebrate Field Museum’s 125th Anniversary by Unlocking Tropical Diversity from the Caribbean, Africa and Australasia with 343 and Geography: US State Spotter — Lost Legumes (II) with 466.

Remember to check #WeDigBio and @WeDigBio on Twitter through out the event for more exciting developments!

— The Notes from Nature Team


WeDigBio 2018 Day 2 summary

WeDigBio 2018 day 2 was another huge success! NfN received 6,640 transcriptions. That is our second most productive day ever. We are anxious to see what happens in day 3.

We also want to give a special mention to the expedition with the most transcriptions during day 2. Plants of Arkansas: The Delta and Crowley’s Ridge Flora (Part IV) received over 1,460 transcriptions!

Remember to check #WeDigBio and @WeDigBio on Twitter through out the event for more exciting developments!

— The Notes from Nature Team

Fall Showoff: The Seaside Goldenrod

We have a special new WeDigBio phenology expedition called Fall Showoff: The Seaside Goldenrod. This is created for an event at the Florida Museum of Natural History taking place tomorrow.


Image Credit: Sam Fraser-Smith

Give it a try and let us know what you think in the Labs section of Talk. You can also learn more by reading this post by Molly Phillips, iDigBio Education, Outreach & Diversity Coordinator at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

— The Notes from Nature Team



WeDigBio 2018 Day 1 summary

WeDigFLPlants_MagnoliasWeDigBio 2018 got off to a great start! NfN received 4,663 transcriptions on day 1. That is our third most productive day ever. We are thrilled and can’t wait to see what happens with day 2.

We also want to give a special mention to the expedition with the most transcriptions during day 1. WeDigFLPlants’ Magnolias, Pawpaws, and Relatives of Florida received over 1,000 transcriptions (1104 to be exact)!

Remember to check #WeDigBio and @WeDigBio on Twitter through out the event for more exciting developments!

— The Notes from Nature Team

Notes from Nature in the news

We are very excited about some news coverage that the Field Museum got about their WeDigBio event. Check out the video and story linked below. The event currently has over 300 people registered!

Botany with an edge: all about sedges

Rhynchospora colorata (white-topped sedge)

Many of us have heard the phrase “Sedges have edges; rushes are round; grasses are hollow right up from the ground” in field biology classes or native plant walks. The saying helps us to distinguish the three graminoid families: the rushes (Juncaceae), grasses (Poaceae), and sedges (Cyperaceae). The sedges are a common sight in Virginia but their diversity often goes unappreciated. Like grasses, many of their distinguishing characteristics are minute.


This expedition will help the Virginia Tech Massey Herbarium’s specimen digitization project. We’ve been fortunate to collect a lot of sedges across Virginia over the years. This bounty leaves us a lot of transcribing though! Your contributions will add the full collection information to these specimens so that they are fully accessible online. Hopefully the transcriptions will help you become familiar with sedge diversity along the way!

Photo credits: Thanks to Tom Potterfield for allowing us to use his sedge photographs to illustrate the expedition (

— Jordan Metzgar,Curator of the Massey Herbarium (VPI)

[Editors note: This expedition is being launched as part of WeDigBio to support an event at Virginia Tech Massey Herbarium]

“Nature’s Nobleman”: Botanical Legacies of William Canby (1831-1904)

CanbySince the “Age of Enlightenment”, professional scientists have received the majority of the credit for discoveries which have expanded our knowledge of the natural world. However, continuously throughout history, there have lived spirited individuals–with little or no formal training–who have made remarkable contributions to science. One of the most distinguished amateur botanists from the 19th century is railwayman and philanthropist William M. Canby (1831-1904), whose spirit of exploration is carried forward in this latest virtual expedition from NYBG.

Propelled by equal genius in banking and botany, William Canby devoted his life and personal fortune to exploring and preserving the natural world. Over his 40 year field career, Canby collected tens-of-thousands of wild plants, organized his own herbarium, and financed dozens of botanical expeditions across the United States. Rarely publishing his own observations, Canby made his impact on the study of biodiversity by collaborating extensively with botanical specialists, who employed his vast collection to discover hundreds of new plant species. Canby earned a stellar reputation among leading contemporary naturalists of his time, including Asa Gray and John Muir, who accompanied him on many expeditions. Even Charles Darwin was impressed by Canby’s acumen for observation, especially relating to insectivorous plants, such as the “venus fly trap” (Dionea).

Long before his death, Canby recognized the tremendous value that his collections could serve for the plant science community, so long as they were preserved in perpetuity and made accessible for all to use. Using today’s digital tools, modern-day citizen scientists (like you) can carry on his mission by helping to document all 30,000 of Canby’s original plant specimens that now reside within the New York Botanical Garden herbarium. Follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest amature naturalists of all time, and help to advance scientific understanding through meticulous collection and sharing of data about plants!

 Join this and all other NYBG expeditions! 

— Charles Zimmerman

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