Rare Plant Surveys: Citizen Science

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  1. California: Rare Plant Treasure Hunts: The native plant community is filled with incredible volunteers who care about California’s precious plant diversity. So in 2010, CNPS launched its Rare Plant Treasure Hunts (RPTH), partnering our scientists with volunteers to obtain up-to-date information on California’s rare plants. Many rare plant populations haven’t been seen in decades, and some parts of the state have seen little to no botanical exploration to date. This program helps conserve our rare flora by providing valuable data to the CNPS Rare Plant Programand the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Treasure Hunters can join an organized rare plant search or learn how to plan their own trips by attending one of our training events.
    1. Link: https://www.cnps.org/education/rare-plant-treasure-hunt
  2. Illinois Botanist Big year: In 2016, the Illinois Native Plant Society hosted the first annual Illinois Botanists Big Year. Anyone may participate, from professional botanist to plant identification novice, by uploading photographic proof of their plant sightings to an online database: iNaturalist. Through the website or mobile apps, botanical enthusiasts upload photos, a species identification, GPS location, date of sighting, and field notes. Since other iNaturalist users can help with identification, participants need not be plant experts and can learn quite a bit about plants just by snapping photos and engaging with the community.
    1. How to join in the fun:Add your plant observations to the iNaturalist.org website or iPhone/Android app and it’ll automatically count toward the contest if it meets the rules below. Join the conversation on the Illinois Botanists Big Year Facebook group.
    2. Link: https://ill-inps.org/illinois-botanists-big-year-2018/