SACRAMENTO – September 7th marks the first official celebration of California Biodiversity Day, an annual event created last year to celebrate the state’s exceptional biodiversity and encourage actions to protect it.
Simply put, biodiversity is the variety of all living things in a given place. California is the nation’s most populous state and home to more diverse species and ecosystems than anywhere in the U.S. It’s a global biodiversity hot spot, but that biodiversity is also disappearing at one of the highest rates. Direct action by all Californians can help reverse this trend.
“California's exceptional biodiversity is our natural heritage, but it's being lost at a rapid rate,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “We are committed to changing this trajectory, and there is a role for every Californian.”
This Saturday, the California Natural Resources Agency, State Parks and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are teaming up to encourage all Californians to get out and explore nature – including state parks, wildlife areas and ecological reserves – as part of a biodiversity open house on September 7-8, 2019.
During this weekend’s biodiversity open house event, ten separate state lands across the state will be hosting events including a bioblitz, that will take place in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences and iNaturalist, a popular nature app that helps identify plants and animals around you. iNaturalist is a collaboration between National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences. Please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/biodiversity to view a list of participating state parks, wildlife areas and ecological reserves.
You can participate in the bioblitz even if you can’t make it to one of these events. Bioblitzes are events that allow you and other citizen scientists to collect information about the biodiversity in a given area, and anyone can be a citizen scientist with the right tools. To take part in the bioblitz, download the iNaturalist app on your smart device, visit any open, natural space near you and use the iNaturalist app to take photos and identify the organisms that you find on Sept. 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Even your backyard can be habitat!
“We invite all Californians to learn about our state’s incredible diversity of plants and animals by participating in this year’s biodiversity day activities,” said State Parks Director Lisa Mangat. “With
your help, we can better understand our natural resources and conserve them for future generations.”
Because California has such a diverse landscape, from deserts to mountain ranges to coastal wetlands and everything in between, our ecosystems are host to a vast array of plant and animal species. Conserving these ecosystems requires gathering information on what biodiversity is found where, just like the data collected through iNaturalist. This information is also important to the people of California, since a large part of our successful economy depends on California’s biodiversity and the services that it supports, such as pollination, clean water, open space, recreation, scenic beauty and tourism.
“Human beings and nature are interconnected,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Saving nature and protecting biodiversity is good for many reasons. It’s good for people, for the economy and for our kids. It’s also our job to save nature, and we can do it.
For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/biodiversity.