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]
In 2015, we launched our first WeDigBio event back when Notes from Nature was still on version 1. Back then it was a real challenge launching new expeditions, but we managed the awesome “Crab Shack” expedition from Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. After we transitioned to Notes from Nature 2.0, we had an amazing turn out for WeDigBio in 2016. On our best day, we had 3,279 transcriptions and, over the four-day event , over 11,000 total transcriptions and – at the time – a record 23 active expeditions.
If 2016 was awesome, 2017 blew us totally away. Instead of falling back to Earth, we had 8395 transcription IN ONE DAY – still a record! NfN had over 20 expeditions active during the event with over 19,000 transcriptions completed over the four-day event!
Here we are in 2018, just one day before launch. How will we do this year? How much can we support the global effort to digitize our irreplaceable biodiversity legacy? Please consider even pitching in one transcription. Each note you take helps make an impact.
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