Organise a BioBlitz at your school
A BioBlitz is a collaborative race against the clock to identify and record as many species of plants, animals and fungi as possible, within a set location, over a defined time period (anywhere between 30 minutes – 48 hours). These events have become an increasingly popular format for engaging the public in conducting local, intensive biological surveys, and work well across a school or integrated into a lesson plan.
The records made during the BioBlitz are passed on to Local Records Centres, and can be used to help scientific research and government policy, as well as informing conservation practice, local planning and land management.
On our resources page you will find free, downloadable resources that you need in order to run your own BioBlitz, but below are some extra considerations to think about if you’re running one at your school.
Why are you running the BioBlitz?
There are many reasons to run a BioBlitz, including introducing students to the idea of biological recording, participation in citizen science, and helping to engage participants with local wildlife. Many schools run a BioBlitz to find out about the wildlife that lives on the school grounds. It provides a fantastic opportunity to support outside learning, either as an hour-long class, or as a day-long BioBlitz for the whole school to get involved with – inviting naturalists and the local wildlife along!
How are you recording the wildlife you find?
There are a few ways to record wildlife and ensure that the records are useful for the purposes of research and wider science:
Apps such as iNaturalist make wildlife recording easy. They ensure that records of wildlife are accurate and that the records are shared with the NBN Atlas (the gold standard of biological data in the UK!), where they can be of use to a wider audience. However, to use iNaturalist the student will need access to a phone or tablet and be at least 13 years old.
If you use iNaturalist, and don’t want every student to have an iNaturalist account, you can create one login and share these details with everyone in the class.
– An alternative for younger audiences is to use the “Seek by iNaturalist” app. Seek is a great way to engage children in nature exploration as it uses the same real-time identification technology, however no login or account required so it is suitable for children (4+ years).
If you want to collect a record of the species recorded through Seek, it is possible to login to Seek using a teacher’s iNaturalist account.
Pen and paper records
You can record the species that have been found on paper and submit these records to your local Environmental Record Centre. We’ve created a handy paper template for you to print which can be downloaded here.
If you are confident that the records of your species are correct, you can share these findings with your Local Environmental Record Centre. Find out which is your local record centre here
Do I need any equipment?
Depending on the species that you’re hoping to record, some wildlife surveying equipment might help with finding and identifying wildlife (but isn’t vital for organising!). Some examples of the equipment you could use include: bug pots, magnifying glasses, binoculars, microscopes, pond nets.
If you want to correctly identify wildlife, the handiest equipment to have at your BioBlitz are field guides and wildlife books. If you don’t have any of these to hand, then organisations such as RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and Woodland Trust have some excellent tools for identifying the wildlife you and your students might have found on their websites.
You can also find some links to handy online keys here
Lesson plan ideas
There are a few on our website, made to support schools to take part in City Nature Challenge (an international BioBlitz that takes part towards the end of April every year). These resources can be adapted to suit a range of BioBlitz-related learning.