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Koreshan State Park kicks off Citizen Science series with a focus on threatened gopher tortoises

Gopher tortoise. Photo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Gopher tortoise. Photo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Throughout the month of June Koreshan State Park in Estero is hosting four 'Citizen Science' informational programs to introduce people to the concept of citizen science and learn about four established research projects that they can become involved with.

Citizen Science harnesses the interest and involvement of members of the public to help collect and interpret results for specifically focused scientific questions.

The first informational program, focusing on gopher tortoises, is June 7 at 10:00a.m. But, it is already full, so we'll learn about these threatened tortoises which call southwest Florida home, and get a preview of the rest of the sessions, which are every Tuesday in June. The next three will cover invasive plants, birding, and a parasitic infection that’s affecting monarch butterflies called OE.

  • June 7 - Walking to “GPS Gopher Tortoise Burrows”, will use the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) app to collect data to support research conducted by FWC.
  • June 14 - “Invasives” will be discussed. One of the topics will be the air potato plant, it’s ID, reporting process to the citizen science project called Air Potato Patrol.
  • June 21 - “Birding” will be the focus for this session. We will use eBird and Merlin that support the data of Cornell School of Ornithology
  • June 28 - “OE Infestation of Monarch Butterflies” will be discussed. How to collect specimens to support a research project sponsored by the University of Georgia, Odum School of Ecology will be explained.

Each session is held from 10:00a.m – 11:30a.m. at Koreshan State Park. The first 20 minutes will be a short talk on the topic of the day and the remaining time will be spent in data collection practice. Considerations – bring water, wear a hat and proper walking shoes.
Attendance will be limited to 12 people per session, and the gopher tortoise session is already full. Registration is required. Click here to learn more or sign up.

Citizen Science experience is free with park entry fee: $5 per vehicle with 2-8 occupants, $4 per single-occupant vehicle, and $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists. Sessions are recommended for 16 yrs. and up.

Guest: Pamela Jones-Morton is an Advanced Florida Master Naturalist and volunteer at the Koreshan State Park in Estero.

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