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BioBlitz 2017

June 23rd - 25th was the weekend of BioBlitz. At BioBlitz, I taught various groups of participants how to journal plants, mammals, birds, and reptiles through observational drawing and note taking. The purpose of journaling was so that the participants would not just look at organisms this weekend in awe, but so that they would use this technique of observation to find out what makes each organism unique. We spent the afternoon and evening of the 23rd journaling plants we saw nearby, recording their characteristics (e.g. size, colors, unique features, & patterns). I believe this was successful because people spent a fair amount of time walking around, recording what they saw, whether it was drawing the general shape of a plant or writing down characteristics. Another reason I believe it was successful was because many people used their journals on the 24th while hiking and doing other activities. On the 25th, I was supposed to have another journaling session, but many people left, so it turned into a mini-drawing lesson. I gave a couple kids and one mother a lesson on how to draw mice, birds, and rattle snakes. Though it wasn't quite "journaling", I reinforced the idea of recording what was seen and observed about the animals we drew (since they were all things we saw this weekend). It turned out to be a good time and the participants were pleasantly surprised by how they could draw after receiving some instruction.

I think next year, since I have a better understanding of the BioBlitz and what to expect when journaling, I would change a couple things. Instead of two journaling session, I would like to do one plain journaling session with plants and one drawing session. Like journaling, we would search out a couple things to draw; so maybe have a couple insects in jars and record different mammals, birds, and reptiles we see (using the technique of observation). Then I would teach a step-by-step drawing lesson; I feel this would be helpful for them because participants who "cannot draw" would have an idea of how to draw what they see.

In a way, I feel conflicted by this because my rigorous, formal training in drawing involves looking at shapes of light rather than the shape of the object. But I've decided, when it comes to quickly recording organisms for scientific means, drawing the shape of the object is okay (unless you are a serious artist depicting objects for stringent, scientific records).

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