April 30, 2021

Inland Empire City Nature Challenge

Don’t know what to do this weekend? How about joining the world’s largest science project? The iNaturalist City Science Challenge was once a biodiversity battle between museums in big cities, but now it’s a global snapshot of life on our planet. From Bratislava to Urubamba, Cape Town to Cape Cod, you can just use your cell phone and the iNaturalist app to photograph and upload the wild world around you. Our “city” is actually the entire Inland Empire, a land that offers deserts and mountains, forests, lakes and regional parks. Don’t like spiders and snakes, how about hummingbirds and wildflowers? Any wildlife you document from April 30 to May 3 will add to the final total of species in the Inland Empire. You’ll be surprised who else lives in your neighborhood. Find out more:

Posted on April 30, 2021 23:25 by douglasriverside douglasriverside | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 12, 2021

Riverside Bug-Out!

While the 2021 Riverside Insect Fair is virtual this year, looking for arthropods is still part of the fun. From today through the end of Sunday April 18, the Museum of Riverside is hosting a county-wide arthro-blitz through iNaturalist:
Whether it's your back yard, or on a trip to Joshua Tree, Riverside City and County have thousands of different insects, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, and other many-legged friends to observe and record - for science!

Posted on April 12, 2021 17:36 by douglasriverside douglasriverside | 1 comment | Leave a comment

September 04, 2020

Wild Riverside Biodiversity Bonanza

There are over 1,800 different species of plants and animals in Riverside. How do we know this? Hundreds of people just like you explored and documented more than 17,000 records through the Museum of Riverside's iNaturalist site. This Sunday, September 7th, dozens of groups throughout the state will be working together to provide a picture of the biodiversity - the total number of unique species - within California. From before sunrise to after sunset, we invite you to explore and record all forms of wildlife you find within Riverside through the Wild Riverside Biodiversity Bonzanza. Even better, that whole week, from September 5th to September 13 is California Biodiversity Week, and you can explore and document the entire week, or on any day that week.
Please join this project: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/wild-riverside-biodiversity-bonanza

So many places within the city are great for exploring: Mount Rubidoux, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, Two-Trees Canyon, Martha Maclean-Anza Narrows Park, Fairmount Park, the La Sierra Hills, Hidden Valley Nature Center, the River Walk Trail, and the University of California Botanical Gardens are just a start. Make sure to document your observations between Saturday Sept. 5 and Sunday Sept. 13.

As added fun for kids, we developed a bingo card with some of the more observable, interesting, and iconic wildlife found in Riverside: https://riversideca.gov/museum/pdf/Wild-Riverside-Bioblitz-final.pdf

Now go outside and have fun!

Posted on September 04, 2020 23:39 by douglasriverside douglasriverside | 1 comment | Leave a comment

March 29, 2020

Natural Diversity a vital feature of Riverside

Since January of 2019, users of iNaturalist have added over 7000 observations to the Riverside Citizen Science project. Despite all the forces working against biodiversity - climate change, wildfires, unceasing suburban development, resurgent air pollution - it’s still possible to have a varied and enriching experience observing nature within the Riverside city limits.

This expanding count of animal and plant occurrence is possible due to upwards of 1000 observers who have used the iNaturalist technology to record what they find. Yet well before the debut of such advanced methods, people came to Riverside to document natural happenings. The Inland region’s natural history was first observed by European immigrants - adelantados from Spain, mountain men and other trail blazers - well over two centuries ago.

Development of the city was due in no small part to the draw of nature study. One investor in Riverside, a man from upstate New York named F.T. Pember, began annual visits starting in the 1880s and continuing up through World War I. Pember borrowed horses from the Mission Inn, or used the early local railroads, to explore Riverside and neighboring counties in search of specimens of birds, mammals and plants. Pember became so attached to the place that he helped found a bank, and established citrus groves located in the area that eventually became the UC Riverside campus. Now, field work by UCR students appears among the main drivers of the expanding numbers we find at Riverside Citizen Science.

Posted on March 29, 2020 21:11 by jbryant jbryant | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 12, 2019

Project Progress Update

As of this writing (January 12, 2019), Riverside Citizen Science has aggregated 3000 observations. After the initial surge of contributions from users of the City of Riverside's NatureSpotter smartphone application, other observers have continued to post their observations using different apps, or simply sharing photos via the iNaturalist website. Localities for these observations range from historic wild lands (such as Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park), to the Santa Ana River channel, to urban streets and suburban neighborhoods. Participants vary, ranging from trained naturalists and professional scientists, to tourists, to young school children and their teachers. Some contributors have been team members in important research projects, such as Operation Tree Canopy (https://inlandurbanforestcouncil.org/?event=operation-tree-canopy). Some contributors have come to Riverside specifically to provide observations to projects started by other organizations (notably the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum). Of equal importance are the iNaturalist users around the world who use their own time and computers to identify and verify the identifications of the species observed and recorded.

Almost six years, and 3000 observations. Thanks to all participants for helping build a database of Riverside nature, past, present and (hopefully) future.

Posted on January 12, 2019 23:19 by jbryant jbryant | 1 comment | Leave a comment

October 25, 2014

Progress Update

As of this writing (October 31, 2016), Riverside Citizen Science has aggregated 1111 observations. After the initial surge of contributions from users of the City of Riverside's NatureSpotter smartphone application, other observers have continued to post their observations using different apps, or simply sharing photos via the iNaturalist website. Thus far, what does the aggregate of these observations indicate?

Large mammals (bobcat, coyote, deer, etc.) are certainly the most elusive species of Riverside's biodiversity, and automated wildlife cameras might be the best way to create a more complete record of their passing. But beyond this, it's not too surprising, that lizards, small birds (especially hummingbirds), butterflies and surface-dwelling invertebrates make up a big part of the record. After all, the native ecosystem of the Riverside area is the coastal sage-scrub plant community, and these ar the species that should thrive in this community. The lesson might be that even with just fringes of this habitat, a city like Riverside can still harbor a healthy population of native species.

Posted on October 25, 2014 19:08 by jbryant jbryant | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 27, 2014

Report on a Year of NatureSpotter

It has been about a year since the release of Riverside’s NatureSpotter smartphone application (now available for both iPhone and Android operating systems) and the inauguration of the Riverside Citizen Science program’s projects at www.iNaturalist.org. Over that time, we’ve discovered an exciting diversity of life forms in the City, the region and in the various locations where our NatureSpotters like to be active. And we’ve learned a good deal more about how much our project participants enjoy observing nature and sharing their findings, questions and thoughts about the natural world around them. With the support of the Innovation and Technology Department at the City of Riverside and the brilliant sharing tools developed for iNaturalist, we appear to be making a significant contribution to the growth of a worldwide community of naturalists and the knowledge of our planet’s biodiversity.

In all, we’ve received roughly 200 submissions from 117 NatureSpotter app users, as well as project contributions from users of the iNaturalist smartphone apps. Our flagship iNaturalist project, Riverside Citizen Science (http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/riverside-citizen-science) now has 310 records, documenting 116 categories of plants and animals, with 31 people following the project through their own iNaturalist accounts. Our newest project, Seeking All Southern California Stinkbugs, launched in late Spring of 2014 (see http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/seeking-all-southern-california-stinkbugs), now has 65 records of 5 different stinkbug taxa, and 28 iNaturalist users are following the project via their own accounts.

The NatureSpotter app works just as well outside of Riverside as it does within the city, so the contributions of our users have included a remarkable sampling of the living world, ranging from a sleepy Common Poorwill in Upland, CA, to a yellow bellied sea snake in Baja California, and to wild horseradish growing on the plains of Saskatchewan, Canada. Through the careful observations made by Dana Cole of Moreno Valley, CA, we’ve been witness to the splendid nesting success of a pair of red-tailed hawks, whose three offspring must now be winging their way through Pigeon Pass in search of their own prey.

All of this shared observing has been enriched by the interpretive resources of the collections at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the Museum’s staff, and scientists and naturalists at the University of California-Riverside, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Smithsonian Institution, New York’s American Museum of Natural History, and the global community of iNaturalist users. Thank you to everyone for making this possible, and we look forward to another year of exciting finds!

Posted on August 27, 2014 19:08 by jbryant jbryant | 0 comments | Leave a comment