LET PEOPLE COME TO BOTANY II: IMPROVING FLORA KNOWLEDGE THROUGH INATURALIST
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Proposed Symposium Title: LET PEOPLE COME TO BOTANY II: IMPROVING FLORA KNOWLEDGE THROUGH INATURALIST
Abstract: Over the last decades, there has been a sharp decline in global biodiversity. Land-use change, habitat fragmentation, and climate change are key human-induced causes contributing to the current biodiversity crisis. Global public awareness of climate change concerns is strong, but there has historically been little public awareness of biodiversity loss. This poses a serious challenge for conservation efforts since public support is essential for developing and implementing successful policies to prevent and reverse biodiversity loss.
If general awareness of biodiversity loss is low, knowledge of plant diversity is even lower. Plants have traditionally been overlooked, and expressions such as "plant blindness", defined as a human tendency to ignore plant species, perfectly illustrate the current plant conservation crisis. However, two out of every five plant species face extinction, and plants are essential for maintaining the ecosystems that support all species, including humans, by supplying habitat, shelter, food, and oxygen. Therefore, it is essential to raise public knowledge of the value of plant conservation.
This symposium aims to show how innovative techniques such as citizen science, internet portals, and mobile applications can be used as educational tools to raise awareness about plant biodiversity among students and the general public.
iNaturalist is a widely used platform for global nature data collection. Users upload geo-referenced photographs, sometimes with identifications, which are visible to the community for identification suggestions. Reliable data is shared in databases like GBIF, benefiting the scientific community. iNaturalist also helps protect threatened organisms by obscuring their locations. The platform has facilitated bioblitz events focused on flora, bridging botany and the public while generating valuable local and broader-scale floral knowledge. In this symposium, speakers will share their experiences using iNaturalist to improve floristic knowledge, inspiring botanists worldwide in their fight against plant blindness.
Speaker 1: Name: Jesús Guadalupe González-Gallegos
Institutional Affiliation: Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR), Unidad Durango, México.
Tentative Talk Title: The contributions of citizen science to the knowledge of Mexico's flora through the iNaturalist platform.
Speaker 2: Name: Nora Oleas
Institutional Affiliation: Universidad Tecnológica Indoamerica, Quito, Ecuador
Tentative Talk Title: Ciencia ciudadana, biodiversidad y estudiantes: iniciativas en iNaturalist.
Speaker 3: Name: Lydia Paradiso
Institutional Affiliation: New York Botanical Garden, New York, USA.
Tentative Talk Title: NYC EcoFlora project: documenting spontaneous urban plants while engaging and educating the community
Topics (Up to three): Education and Outreach
Topic 2: Education and Outreach
Topic 3: Education and Outreach
Justification: The fight against plant blindness should be a priority for all attendees at an international botany congress. Thus, it is a unique opportunity to listen to the experiences of people from all over the world with a platform like iNaturalist, which is also free and open. We have proposed speakers from very different regions such as Mexico, the USA and Ecuador, and at different stages of their scientific career. We intend to reflect that these actions are possible from any position and geographical area.