Citizen Science and Bioblitzes

Squirrel Mapper

Life has evolved over millions of years. Yet evolution can produce dramatic change quickly! The coat color of gray squirrels, which occur over much of eastern North America and are introduced around the globe, is a good example. Today most are indeed gray but two centuries ago most were apparently black. How could evolution change this species so profoundly and so quickly? Help us explore this question at SquirrelMapper where you can: contribute observations of squirrels from your own neighborhood, test hypotheses about why squirrel color varies geographically, directly measure natural selection on squirrel coloration by participating in our “squirrel hunt” exercise, view the geographical pattern of morphs across the gray squirrel’s range. Together we can crack this nut!



Bioblitz exposes the amazing flora and fauna of home. Bioblitz events can generate kids’ interest in science, leading to careers in biology. During Bioblitz, school children and others are encouraged to visit tables set up at a central location. Here, scientists identify their finds and place some of them on display, temporarily, for public to admire– whether fish, frog, fungus, or water flea.

  • Elmwood (Completed 2003)
  • Beaver Lake (Completed 2004): ¬†Students, faculty, and staff (nearly 50 in all) from SUNY/ESF Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, working with the staff of Beaver Lake and interested public, discovered¬†828 different kinds of plants, animals, and fungi in 24 hours! Braving, at times, thunder, lightning, high winds, drizzling rain, they combed woodland, meadow, bog and pond for creatures great and small.
  • Lucky Star (Completed June 2011):¬†Some 85 ESF faculty members and students fanned out across 2,000 acres of forests, ponds and unique alvar communities in Northern New York, conducting a 24-hour “bioblitz” to inventory the plant, animal and fungus species on the property.