Journal archives for December 2020

December 25, 2020

An article of mine about iNat and Randall's Island, NYC

When I arrived back in NYC after nearly three weeks in Florida, I was delighted to see that two copies of the new issue of Senior Hiker Magazine (Issue Ten 2020) had come in the mail. Senior Hiker is a small (in terms of circulation) but very classy magazine published out of Maine. It prides itself on beautiful writing and beautiful photos.

Early this year I was asked to write a piece for the magazine about using iNaturalist, and I had decided to write about my experiences iNatting in Randall's Island Park, which is part of an island in the East River not far from where I live. Randall's Island is my favorite nature destination within the borough of Manhattan.

Writing the piece was my first paid writing gig ever. I also ended up co-writing a second complimentary piece about using iNat to track alpine plants, and I was paid for that too.

My piece is:

"An Urban iNaturalist -- Exploring the biodiversity of Randall's Island, NewYork", by Susan Hewitt, pages 52 to 57.

Page 57 mainly consists of an eight-paragraph sidebar which is all "About iNaturalist". Page 56 displays the official map of Randall's Island.

There are 12 really great photos in the article. The majority of the images were taken by three local iNatters who are also very good friends of mine. Chris Girgenti (the Natural Areas Manager of Randall's Island Park Alliance) has three landscape images, Matt Parr has five images of organisms, and Steven Bodzin has two images. of organisms. There are also two images of mine in the piece.

The second, complimentary article in the issue about using iNat, which I co-wrote, is on pages 58 to 62: "An Alpine iNaturalist -- Studying climate change through the flowering of alpine plants" by Georgia Murray with Susan Hewitt.

Posted on December 25, 2020 15:44 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 11 comments | Leave a comment

December 31, 2020

On the global leaderboards for December 2020

As was the case last year, in December 2020 my husband Ed and I went to stay in Sanibel Island, Lee County, Florida for almost three weeks. Here is the journal post about last year's trip:

https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/susanhewitt/29786-on-the-global-leaderboards-for-december-2019?

During my Sanibel trip this year, I was able to make observations of a lot of species that I had never seen (or in some cases never noticed or paid attention to) before. In fact, during the month of December I was happy to see that I recorded 92 "Newly Added" species:

https://www.inaturalist.org/stats/2020/susanhewitt

We were fortunate in that our trip overlapped for two days with a trip to Sanibel by our friends @ginsengandsoon and @maxcavitch, so we were able to go out iNatting with them twice, once to a nature preserve, and once to a good beach with lots of shells.

A substantial number of the "Newly Added" species that I found during this trip were thanks to an excellent, extremely helpful iNat meet-up outing with local (Fort Myers) botany professor @jayhorn.

I also met, and got to go out shelling with, iNatter @lukemiller17, who lives on Sanibel Island, and who works on the front desk three days a week at the wonderful Shell Museum on Sanibel. We went to Lighthouse Beach, and also to West Gulf Drive, beach access #7, which is the beach next to the cottages where Ed and I stay, and that beach was very rich in shells this year.

But I was somewhat surprised to see that this year I am once again currently on the global leaderboards (one of the top 5 observers) for the most observations in December 2020 (number 3), and also on the leaderboard for the greatest number of species observed in December 2020 (number 5). And I was even more surprised to see that I was also on the iNat global leaderboard (number 4) for the most observations overall in the year 2020.

https://www.inaturalist.org/people

2020 certainly felt like a productive year for me on iNat. And the three weeks on Sanibel felt like the best part of the year. When I went to Nevis, West Indies, back in March, the country of St Kitts & Nevis shut down suddenly, and we were forced to leave after eight days instead of the planned 28 days, plus we were not allowed to go anywhere off of the hotel grounds during those eight days, so I did not record nearly as many new organisms as I would normally have done during four weeks on that lovely island.

In late December, I had 8 days of being back again in NYC after the Sanibel trip. During that time, as was the case last year, I made a conscious effort to add more species to my December 2020 total, by observing as many species as I could here in NYC that do not occur on Sanibel.

Making those extra observations was not easy this year, as for the first six days of being back in NYC, we were in very strict traveler's quarantine for Covid, having come back from Florida to NY State. I could not set foot outside my apartment at all, except to go get a second Covid test. So for the first few days back, I had to keep my iNat streak alive by photographing wild organisms out of our back windows, and there is not too much biodiversity visible that way!

But once we got all our Covid test results and knew they were all negative, I was able to go out locally and find things to observe during the final 2.5 days of December.

Some people seem to think that leaderboards are a bad idea, because they can (supposedly) encourage mindless competitiveness. But I think that Streaks and Leaderboards help encourage people's involvement with iNat, and help record their remarkable levels of commitment.

Note: The first 42 images here are from Sanibel, starting on December 3rd. The last ten images here, from "Goldenrod Rust" onward, are from NYC, starting on December 29th.

Posted on December 31, 2020 16:44 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 52 observations | 8 comments | Leave a comment

December 10, 2020

Marine Mollusks of the Eastern Seaboard, dead or alive, please folks!

There is a new project on iNat called "Eastern Seaboard Mollusks". This is part of a huge new overall project that is funded by the National Science Foundation of the US Government. Here is the iNat part of it:

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/eastern-seaboard-mollusks

If you have any interest in marine mollusks of the Eastern Seaboard, please consider joining this Project so you get updates and news.

The function of the overall project is accumulate and refine vast amounts of data about marine mollusks (shelled or shell-less, dead or alive) from the Eastern Seaboard of the United States of America. The data is coming frrom museum collections and from iNat too of course.

Please note that the phrase "Eastern Seaboard" does not just imply what we call the East Coast, but also includes all of the coast of the State of Florida and all of the US part of the Gulf of Mexico.

I would request that everyone and anyone who has made iNat marine mollusk observations from anywhere in that geographical area, or who looks at observations from those areas made by other people, to please go through all the relevant observations and add the annotation "dead" or "alive". Once you have done that, those obs will be automatically be included in this vast, important, and very valuable project. But without that annotation, the obs will not be included.

And please, do this not only for your own observation, but also if you come across or notice any other observations from anyone else that are observations of marine mollusks from the Eastern Seaboard, if those observations do not have the dead or alive annotation, would you please take a moment to add that to those too?

Many malacologists will be grateful, as will fisheries specialists and many others.

Thanks,

Susan

Posted on December 10, 2020 00:02 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 16 observations | 7 comments | Leave a comment