Calling All Citizen Scientists Who Like Insects and Data!

by Louis Harrell

Read on for information on two volunteer opportunities.

There are two interesting projects for which ARMN is asking the assistance of both experienced and amateur citizen scientists.

The first should be of interest to the old “bug lab” alumni and anyone else who is interested in learning more about insects. The other project is to analyze raw data from the recently completed Arlington bioblitz as well as other information collected about plants and animals in the county. The schedule for both of these projects is flexible and training is available for the microscope used in insect identification.

Identifying Insects for Arlington County

Arlington County needs assistance with processing and identifying insects caught in various traps around the county. If you are familiar with a particular taxonomic category or group of insect or would like to learn about identifying insect groups, please consider helping with this effort.

Photo of volunteer using microscope

We plan to use the Arlington Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Leica EZ-4D microscope to capture good photos of the insects and make identifications easier. If you have never used this equipment or are a returning user, Kirsten Conrad, Arlington’s Cooperative Extension Agent, will provide training at the VCE office located at 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, VA 22206. You can sign up for this training at: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/60B0B4FA8AB22A31-training.

Cataloging Bioblitz Species . . . and More

The recent bioblitz event recorded 460 species of plants and animals.

Photo of a hummingbird

This raw data needs to be categorized in taxonomic order, along with existing inventories of plants and animals in the county. The goal is to create a database of Arlington’s fauna and flora with updated scientific names to which new information could be added in the future.

If you are interested in working on this project or need additional information for either of these projects, please contact Alonso Abugattas at Aabugattas@arlingtonva.us .

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