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March 20, 2017 - Boulder Nonprofit and Government Organizations Come Together to Launch New Citizen Scientist Wildlife Project at April 6 Event

Monday, March 20, 2017
Media Contacts:

Melanie Hill, Director of Communications, WILD Foundation, 303-442-8811 x 10 or melanie@wild.org
Vivienne Jannatpour, Boulder County, 303-678-6277
Sarah Huntley, City of Boulder Communications, Media Relations, 303-441-3155

Boulder nonprofit and government organizations come together to launch new citizen scientist wildlife project at April 6 event

It’s no secret that Boulder County is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in all of Colorado. At least 59 mammal species, over 100 breeding bird species, more than 200 butterfly species, and countless reptiles, amphibians, and insects have been documented to date. Now that we know who some of our wild neighbors are, how can we better manage their habitats so these species can thrive?

On Thursday, April 6, the City of Boulder, Boulder County, and the WILD Foundation will kick off Earth Month with the launch of a new citizen science initiative at eTown Hall: The Boulder County Wildlife Project. The initiative, nicknamed “Wild Boulder,” will provide local land managers with a stronger understanding of where these animals are being spotted and what they need to thrive in this unique ecosystem we call home.

The Boulder County Wildlife Project utilizes iNaturalist, an online network that provides a platform for participants to record their wildlife observations. By taking and uploading photos, species identifications, geographic locations, observation dates, and other relevant notes, citizen scientists can assist open space experts as they create a database of wildlife in the area.

“We live in an incredible place where we have the privilege of sharing our space with many species of wildlife,” said Deborah Price, education liaison for Boulder County Parks & Open Space. “iNaturalist will help us keep track of that diversity while we enjoy the outdoors, and provides future learning opportunities for people of all ages.”

“The Boulder County Wildlife Project provides an excellent record of the numerous species that call these wild lands home,” said Melanie Hill, communications director for the WILD Foundation. “We hope this unique collaboration between the City, County, and WILD Foundation will encourage residents to become dedicated stewards of Boulder’s open space.”

This partnership represents a local commitment to the concept of citizen science, which seeks to increase the pool of data available to scientists while also giving laypeople an opportunity to participate in research. Identified as one approach in Boulder’s Resilience Strategy, citizen science is a creative way to connect residents to our climate and environment, and unite them in a common effort.

“By increasing individuals’ awareness of their surroundings, we can help them recognize and respond to changing conditions. We also want to encourage more social connections and bring people together based on shared interests and appreciation for what it means to live in the city of Boulder or the surrounding county,” said Greg Guibert, Boulder’s Chief Resilience Officer. “This combination of awareness and community connection is invaluable when challenges occur.”

The April 6 event, which is free and open to the public, runs 5 to 8 p.m. at eTown Hall, 1535 Spruce St. A series of short films produced by top conservation filmmakers will screen at 6 p.m.; Dave Sutherland of Boulder OSMP, Deborah Price of Boulder County, and Melanie Hill of the WILD Foundation will announce the new citizen science project at 7 p.m. For the rest of the evening, attendees are free to mix and mingle with some of the organizations working to protect Boulder wildlife. Appetizers will be provided, and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. Interested attendees are asked to RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrate-wild-boulder-tickets-32820048649/ to ensure an adequate offering of refreshments.

Links:
eTown event: http://bit.ly/wildboulder
Project guidelines: www.wildboulder.org
iNaturalist project page: www.inaturalist.org/projects/boulder-county-wildlife

The Boulder County Wildlife Project and Celebrate Wild Boulder event are brought to you by:

City of Boulder
The City of Boulder is home to some of the most diverse wildlife areas in all of Colorado, providing critical habitat for a variety of species. Boulder is unique among Front Range cities due to the preservation of the mosaic of ecosystems that form the foothills backdrop. The city works across departments to preserve and protect the many species that call Boulder home while providing for world-class outdoor recreation. For more information, visit https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/wildlife-overview.

Boulder County
Boulder County Parks & Open Space, begun in 1975, protects over 100,000 acres of open space for wildlife protection, human recreation, and agricultural preservation. The department is staffed with wildlife biologists, botanists, planners, educators, agricultural specialists, historians, trails and grounds crews, and support staff to help ensure that these lands are protected today and into the future. Parks & Open Space also depends heavily on volunteers, who provide education for public and school programs, wildlife monitoring, trail building and other work projects, and more. For information, visit www.BoulderCountyOpenSpace.org.

WILD Foundation:
For over 40 years, the WILD Foundation has shaped the cutting edge of conservation, uniting groups behind an ethic of care and commitment for wild nature in order to facilitate collaborative action that results in impacts that far exceed our lean organizational structure. Nothing short of collective impact will put a dent in the ecological challenges confronting life on this planet. WILD’s expertise is in leveraging a reputation for integrity to forge enduring collaborations, igniting support for a common vision and bridging the institutional and cultural gaps that so often impede cooperation. www.wild.org

 

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