Missouri Botanists’ Big Year Competition
by James Faupel, Project Creator and Admin Restoration Ecologist, Missouri Botanical Garden
We are incredibly excited to announce the first annual Missouri Botanists’ Big Year Competition! This competition is being held on the online citizen science tool and website, iNaturalist. Currently our members have not been very actively involved on this platform, while many of our neighboring state plant societies have been very active in improving their states’ data. Our observations will help researchers track and better understand the flora of Missouri and how it changes over time, from native plants to exotic invasives. The data provided by our members will be publicly available, to help improve science communication. We also hope to present iNaturalist training opportunities in the near future to help new users get acquainted with using the website and phone app. We will continue to host these Big Years and then will be able to compare data from each year’s competition. Which botanist will claim this year’s biggest bragging rights by the end of the year?!
Thank you to our neighboring states, Illinois and Kentucky, for inspiring the creation of the Missouri Botanists Big Year. But let’s make this a friendly competition and show our neighbors what kind of flora we’re made of!
Create an account and join the project here to participate in the competition: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/missouri-botanists-big-year-2021 The rules and prizes listed below also appear on the iNaturalist project page.
- Observation must be a plant observed in Missouri in 2021.
- Observation must be a wild plant, whether native or non-native. (Plants physically/purposefully planted in a human maintained garden/landscape will not be entered into this project and should be marked as captive/cultivated in your observation.)
- You must be a member of the project – join at the link shown in the paragraph above.
- Observation must be research grade, so submit many descriptive photos.
- To be entered to win the Grand Prize, you must be a member of the Missouri Native Plant Society – join here: https://monativeplants.org/membership/
Grand Prize will be awarded for most species observed in 2021: Winner will receive a prize worthy of a field botanist, including a hand lens and field plant press, with the possibility of even more!
Prize for most species observed by a non-member – A free one year membership to the Missouri Native Plant Society!
Honorary Titles that will be announced! Receive these bragging rights worth holding over the heads of your fellow Missouri botanists.
Most observations! Most identifications! Most Poaceae species! Most Carex species! Most Bryophyte species! Most Fern species! Most species of DYCs! Most favorited observation!
• If you are an expert in the field of botany in Missouri, please help us vet and identify the observations made. There are not nearly enough professionals helping identify the flora of Missouri on iNaturalist. Log onto iNaturalist and help here – https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?verifiable=true&page=1&spam=false&place_id=any&user_id=&project_id=missouri-botanists-big-year-2021
• Please mark the geoprivacy of any state-listed rare or endangered species as “obscured.” (If you do not, we will notify you.) Our partners at the Missouri Department of Conservation will greatly appreciate your assistance in helping protect our plants of conservation concern! See the list here – https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/files/downloads/2021_SOCC.pdf
• This is a collection project for only the year 2021, within the umbrella project “Missouri Botanists Big Year,” that will collect the data of every year of the event going forward. You must join each year’s project to have your observations be included in each year’s event. Joining the umbrella project doesn’t make your observations available to the 2021 project.
• To see all the vascular plants observed on iNat within the state of Missouri, visit our project the Flora of Missouri – https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flora-of-missouri
• To see all the non-vascular plants (also known as bryophytes) observed within the state of Missouri on iNat, visit our project MOSSouri – https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/mossouri
• Need help identifying a plant? Check out the Missouri Plants website for detailed information on our flora – http://www.missouriplants.com/
ADDITIONAL HELPFUL LINKS FOR MISSOURI PLANT IDENTIFICATION:
Thanks for joining the project and good luck!