Latest Naturedigger news: We'd like to welcome The Center for Biological Diversity as our most recent Coastal SOS conservation organization. Their Endangered Oceans Program is a great fit for the app, and we're happy to include them! Although Coastal SOS is still moving along, we've had to push the release date to spring/summer until we have active reports included in the app. Several amazing conservation organizations and agencies throughout the world are participating in Coastal SOS and their efforts will be highlighted in the app; however, in keeping with the citizen science model of Naturedigger, all of our apps will be updated with reporting functionality for the next submission. Check out our apps page and follow us on Twitter to see what's happening!
Invasive Species Highlight: Phragmites australis in winter
While many invasive species are dormant or less obvious, the standout during the winter months is Phragmites australis, or common reed. This perennial grass grows taller than other herbaceous vegetation (~about 15 feet) and have a persistent tuft all year. Seeds of this plant are dispersed by wind or water, but it may also spread by rhizomes or fragments of rhizomes. This tenacious invasive from Eurasia and Africa has taken over many freshwater wetland and brackish (saltmarsh) habitats crowding out native plants creating a monoculture (single plant habitat). These plants are one of the easiest species to ID while driving down the highway or back roads since they occur in every state.
For more information about Phragmites and other aquatic invasive species, check out Naturedigger's free app, Lakes SOS.
This month's Nature Nugget:
February isn't just the month of Punxsutawney Phil, hearts and flowers. It is also the month of the Great Backyard Bird Count, one of the most engaging and critical citizen science programs in the world. The event runs from February 12th through the 15th, so mark your calendars! Participation is easy and fun, but also provides important information to Cornell University and Audubon a snapshot of the abundance and distribution of our birds. This event has been in existence since 1998, and is still going strong with the help of both amateur and expert birders.