Anza Borrego offers class on iNaturalist, Citizen Science and the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas

ANZA BORREGO – iNaturalist is a powerful tool for those who want to record and share their findings from the natural world. The Steele Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center is offering a class to train attendees on how to contribute to and set up their own projects using iNaturalist Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. Instructor Dr. Brad Hollingsworth from the San Diego Natural History Museum will also talk about how the public can help scientists better understand the amphibians and reptiles of southern and Baja California by contributing to the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California.

The Amphibian and Reptile Atlas contains information from both the San Diego Natural History Museum’s herpetology database and over 17,000 citizen science observations and counting, thanks to their adoption of iNaturalist.org. Come learn how to participate and what’s been learned so far.

After an indoor morning presentation and lunch at the research center, the class will head into the field for hands-on practice using the app for a park project to record sightings of the endangered elephant tree near the Elephant Tree Trail just north of Fish Creek. Come prepared for an afternoon in the field.

All participants must download the iNaturalist app and set up an account before the start of this class. Please contact Briana Puzzo at 760-767-0446 ext. 1004 for assistance.

The hike level is easy; only a few miles of off-trail walking will be involved. Bring lunch, smartphone or tablet with iNaturalist downloaded, water, sun protection, good walking shoes and snacks.

The class will be held at the Steele Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, 401 Tilting T Drive, in Borrego Springs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The class costs $35 for the public and $25 for foundation members.

About the instructor, Hollingsworth has had a life-long interest in the diversity of amphibians and reptiles. He received his B.S. in 1988 and M.S. in 1995 from San Diego State University and his doctorate in 1999 from Loma Linda University. His research focuses on the systematics and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of the Southwest, including the Baja California peninsula and its associated islands. He is responsible for the care and maintenance of Museum’s 78,000 amphibian and reptile research specimens and regularly teaches as an adjunct professor at San Diego State University.

Recently, he launched the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California. The goal of the new atlas is to combine both museum collection data and observations from citizen scientists to help better understand the biodiversity of our region. The atlas is a binational effort covering southern California to the tip of Baja California. With the creation of a user-friendly website, getting access to biodiversity data are greatly simplified. This access includes the Museum’s herpetology database and digital images of specimens in the collection. Citizen scientists have already contributed over 11,000 observations through the adoption of the iNaturalist.org platform.

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