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 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)!
— The Notes from Nature Team
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 (http://bit.ly/2Py1GPI).
— 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]
Since 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!
— Charles Zimmerman
We are excitedly preparing for WeDigBio 2018! The event runs from October 18th – 21st. This is a big event for all of us at NfN and often results in a tremendous amount of activity on our site.
Check out the event list on the WeDigBio website for events that might be happening near you. Even though most of the events are onsite, anyone can still participate from wherever they are. You can track the progress on the very cool dashboard on the WeDigBio site. We will also be using the hashtag #WeDigBio on Twitter and Facebook, along with some blog updates during the event.
Please keep an eye out for lots of new expeditions launching throughout the week. We even launched a new State Spotter expedition just moments ago! As usual we’ll have lots of content on our site from herbarium specimens, to bees, butterflies and of course phenology.
— The Notes from Nature team
WeDigBio stands for Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections. It is a global event that focuses on digitizing of natural history museum specimens. This is a topic we at NfN care deeply about and are excited to be involved again this year. You can read up ever more about the event in this publication.
The focus of the WeDigBio event is on onsite digitization gatherings that will take place around the world. Many of these events will include fun activities and tours of the museums. Even though most of the events are onsite, anyone can still participate from wherever they are. You can track the progress on the dashboard on the WeDigBio site. We will also be using the hashtag #WeDigBio on Twitter and Facebook, along with some blog updates during the event, which runs from Oct. 18th to the 21st.