by Andrea Williams
The Marin Municipal Water District and the California Academy of Sciences held a bioblitz a few weeks ago. I haven’t written about it yet, because all I can give you are numbers and words. I can’t make you present in the Throckmorton Fire Station engine bay in the morning, the air electric with anticipation for the day’s sites, where people would be going, and the things they might see. I can’t take you to a spot lush with green grasses and sedges, show you the impossibly vibrant colors of a leopard lily while you’re immersed in the rank odor of hedge nettle. You won’t be there, part of a focused team, each with a task essential to documenting the plant life at that spot, at that instant of time, blending centuries-old herbarium specimen collection methods with present-day GPS camera technology. You aren’t back at the fire station in the afternoon, surrounded by waves of laughter and chatter as people share details of the day’s experience, pool their data, ask questions about their plant specimens. And I couldn’t save you a piece of MMWD’s birthday cake. But you can share in a solitary facsimile of the process, by taking photographs and locations of plants you see and uploading them to iNaturalist or Calflora, or using one of their smartphone apps, to contribute to the body of knowledge about the mountain.