TIME Science Invites Community To "Discover Transylvania 2020"

TIME Science Invites Community To “Discover Transylvania 2020”
Posted on 05/13/2020
Lucy Murray Takes Observations for "Discover Transylvania 2020" with iNaturalist (iNaturalist.org)

TIME 101 is the introductory course in a research-based science program at Brevard High School where students conduct hands-on investigations and create unique projects often inspired by local plants, animals and fungi.

In the words of teacher Jennifer Williams, "If students are given a chance to become scientists and contribute to real science research that matters, they'll love it and want to do more! That is the philosophy of the TIME 4 Real Science Program." TIME 101 students design a class project near the end of every semester, but this year there are more limitations than usual. Due to quarantine and social distancing orders, students will conduct their project online and invite the public to join.

(Click the image to the right to view a PDF with a summary of details, and links to useful information on iNaturalist.)

Discover Transylvania flyer from TIME Science Research Program

Students designed their project “Discover Transylvania 2020” with the goals of documenting the incredible biodiversity in the area, bringing the community together through science, and possibly discovering something new.

The project is housed on iNaturalist, an online citizen science platform. iNaturalist is an app and website where people contribute observations of plants, fungi and animals and are assisted with identification. Anyone can download the app on a smartphone and make observations. iNaturalist has more than one million registered users and more than 36 million observations made by professionals in many fields, as well as by the general public all over the world.

TIME 101 students are looking to the community for help with their project this year. Through iNaturalist the students have created a project where community submissions will be used as data. All photos or videos uploaded within Transylvania County between May 6 and May 22 will be added to the project's dataset. Though all species of wild animals, plants and fungi will be included, the students want to encourage participants to make observations of squirrels.

TCS Coffee Break TIME iNaturalist
(Click above to watch the May 13 interview with teachers and students from TIME Science Research about the new “Discover Transylvania 2020” project on iNaturalist.)

iNaturalist can be used by anyone with a smartphone. The first step is to download the app and create an account. From there, users can either explore others' observations, look at others' comments on their observations or make an observation. Users can make an observation by either uploading or taking a photo. Once a photo has been added, users can click "What did you see?" and get identification suggestions if they don't know what they observed. Notes on the observation can also be added for more detail.

TIME iNaturalist Discover Transylvania 2020 Observations
(Above: Just a sample of the observations in “TIME iNaturalist Discover Transylvania 2020 Observations,” on iNaturalist. Click the image to see more on the project page. After viewing, you may also register and begin sharing your observations!)

Just click the link here to join “Discover Transylvania 2020,” or visit the main page on the app and click on the three dots labeled “More.” From there select “Projects” and search for “Discover Transylvania 2020.”

While this project aims for participants to discover local wildlife, it is important that the current stay-at-home orders are observed. Participants can explore their community as long as social distancing is practiced. Participants should be mindful of trail and road closures in Pisgah Forest and should check U.S. Forest Service closure orders to see what is open.

Through Discover Transylvania 2020, TIME 101 students hope to guide community learning about local biodiversity in Transylvania County, as well as inspire people to go outside and enjoy Transylvania's beautiful scenery. Students appreciate your help with this project and wish everyone well in these difficult times.

For more information about the project and short instructional videos on using iNaturalist, visit the Facebook page: TIME Science Research Program.

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