SF Presidio Nature Challenge on April 28
SAN FRANCISCO — People of all ages are invited to the inaugural Presidio Nature Challenge BioBlitz on Saturday, April 28. The event is part of the third annual City Nature Challenge, a competition between cities worldwide measuring which city can observe and record the most species of plants and animals.
Founded in 2016 by the California Academy of Science and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the challenge uses friendly city rivalries to engage citizens in science and deepen understanding of local biodiversity.
Presidio Trust ecologists will guide visitors to discover plant and animal species in the park, and catalogue and share their findings using the iNaturalist app developed by California Academy of Sciences. In total this April, over 60 cities will compete worldwide. Results will be announced May 4.
The Presidio Nature Challenge not only inspires visitors to be stewards of San Francisco’s 1,491-acre urban National Park, it also helps the Presidio Trust in its commitment to increase the variety of living organisms within its boundaries.
Increased biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity, and strengthens the bonds between species to create a balanced ecosystem, which scientists believe is healthy for the planet.
“The Presidio couldn’t be a better place in which to hold a BioBlitz,” says Associate Director of Natural Resources Lew Stringer. “As an organization, the Presidio Trust is a model of environmental stewardship within an urban environment. This event not only encourages the public to explore nature in the Presidio, but it helps us collect valuable data on the current biodiversity of the park so we can grow it for the future.”
The Presidio’s long tenure as a military post (1776-1994) ensured that its natural setting was significantly protected from urbanization as the city around it grew increasingly dense. But when the Army left, many of the Presidio’s natural resources were in a state of decline.
Since taking over management of the Presidio in 1998, the Presidio Trust has worked with its partners at the National Park Service (NPS) and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to restore and preserve the park’s natural landscapes. The diversity of wildlife in the Presidio is unusually high for an urban park, with 323 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and fish; its location on the Pacific Flyway attracts more than 65 bird species during their migrations. The Presidio includes 991 acres of open space and 145 acres of native plant communities, including threatened, rare and endangered species.
Habitat restoration in projects such as at Mountain Lake and the Tennessee Hollow Watershed has allowed the reintroduction of native species including chorus frogs, western pond turtles, three-spine stickleback fish, the San Francisco forktail damselfly, checkerspot butterfly and California floater mussels.
The Presidio Nature Challenge launches with opening remarks at the Presidio Officers’ Club, at 9:00 am, followed by an update on the Trust’s 2018-2019 Open Space projects.
Participants will then disperse into the field, as they’re coached by Presidio staff on using the iNaturalist app and the best ways to discover the rich array of species across the park’s marshes, beaches, forests and wetlands. Data will be downloaded at the Officers’ Club at the conclusion of the event.
Organizers advise to download the app prior to arrival, and read suggestions on how to register and what to bring for a successful event. Google phones and tablets are generously made available by Project Homeless Connect for those who do not have smart phones. For those going entirely analog, there will be art supplies and sketching activities available.
For a complete list of Bay Area BioBlitzes, visit: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2018-san-francisco-bay-area
City Nature Challenge Website: www.citynaturechallenge.org
For other Earth Week events at the Presidio visit: www.presidio.gov/events