What kind of BioBlitz swag would you actually use?

For the upcoming National Parks BioBlitz in DC, I would like to offer some items that people would find truly useful for improving the quality of the observations that they share on iNaturalist (no water bottles!) by making it easier to take photographs or more easily incorporating a scale object. I have a few ideas and I'd love to hear thoughts from the community. I created a very short form to collect responses, but you can also elaborate on your thoughts in the comments.

Bandana with a grid
It would probably be black fabric with a white 1-cm grid printed on it (we have to custom design and print it--I've never seen one of these before). I came up with this idea when I was photographing lots of fruits and seeds in grad school. It would provide a consistent background and scale for loose objects.

Slap bracelet with a ruler printed on it
Carry your scale object on your wrist! This would be another custom design. Would be easier to use in many circumstances than the bandana since it would be rigid.

Magnifying bookmark with a ruler on it
These are designed for reading and I'm not sure if the magnification would be useful at all in the field. I've ordered a couple of samples to test them out. They often have a string loop so you could carry it on your wrist.

Small Rite-in-the-rain notebook
Depending on your inaturalist workflow, it could be useful to have a notebook to jot down species names (if you're with an expert) or other observations.

Viewing box with magnifying lens
I love these things. Not easy to print "BioBlitz" on, but super useful.

Thanks for your input!

Julkaistu maaliskuu 10, 2016 04:18 IP. käyttäjältä carrieseltzer carrieseltzer


@treegrow, @leannewallisbiologist, @sambiology, and @charlie I'd especially love to hear your thoughts!

Lähettänyt carrieseltzer yli 8 vuotta sitten

oh, fun. I think it's use any of these. The bandana sounds neat but would get filthy fast I think and might be hard to use due to being floppy. But for some things would be great. Snap bracelet sounds super fun and silly and also useful, though i doubt i'd wear it in the field barbecue i'd lose it crawling through bushes or a bog. Magnifying bookmark - wonder if the magnifier would work on the iphone the way the hand lens does. Rite in the rain - i;d definitely use but probably for work not for citizen science stuff. Viewing box would be great for insects and stuff... how do smartphone or camera photos work with that?

Lähettänyt charlie yli 8 vuotta sitten

The Bandana with a grid would be very useful (I want one!). From a photography standpoint the black can be very good or very bad depending on the subject. If it could be double-sided with the black and white reversed it would be incredible.

I've tried both a Magnifying bookmark with a ruler on it and a Magnifying ruler and they aren't that useful in the field.

Field guides are always good, and maybe you could get some of the app publishers to donate some free copies for people's phone. The list of good ones is always growing.

Lähettänyt finatic yli 8 vuotta sitten

I LOVE all of these and would totally use them. I do hope that all of the rulers would have both metric and silly-non-metric measurements (aka inches). :)

One thing that I use a lot, especially for bugs, is a petri dish: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2352669
This is a great way to take really close shots of bugs and stuff that bites/stings... It takes a bit of practice to catch bugs with the petri dish, and to photograph without getting too too much glare, but I use them all of the time for bugs.

They're relatively inexpensive as well -- as they crack, I just throw them away to get another.

Great stuff.

Lähettänyt sambiology yli 8 vuotta sitten

@finatic the most amazing bandana would be a double-sided bandana with the grid woven in in black and white, but I'm sure that's far beyond our budget, timeline, and the ability of most bandana manufacturers right now. Good to know about the magnifying bookmarks. That's what I figured.

@sambiology I like the petri dish suggestion. We'll probably try to get lots of those for our invertebrate inventories.

@charlie I tend not to use the magnifier in the viewing box when taking a photo but being able to get close to the animal from the side helps. Check out my mosquito: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2756395

Lähettänyt carrieseltzer yli 8 vuotta sitten

I forgot to ask, @finatic do you think white with a black grid would be better? Or other color suggestions?

Lähettänyt carrieseltzer yli 8 vuotta sitten

ah, that's how you got that mosquito picture. Very neat.

Lähettänyt charlie yli 8 vuotta sitten

+1 on the petri dishes for bugs, 50 mm polystyrene petri dishes are best and have excellent optical qualities. Clear glass snap cap vials are also great, and Whirlpaks offer excellent bang for the buck. They are also super easy to carry around in large quantities and work for both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. The grid bandana may be useful for sorting soil or debris samples in the field. I think a white/light background would be best for most applications. When I was doing field work in grad school, I used a cheap yellow plastic rain poncho for sorting through samples.

Lähettänyt treegrow yli 8 vuotta sitten

I don't know which would be better. I prefer white because there are far fewer white critters that would blend into the color compared to black ones that would blend into black (think beetles). A neutral gray might be a good idea.

I do love the idea, and please do let me know how you end up getting them done. If the cost isn't too prohibitive I might try to order me 3 of them, black, white and gray! Being bandanas they would easily fold into my camera bag and always be with me.

Lähettänyt finatic yli 8 vuotta sitten

What would be cool is to have a color checker chart, as in the link below but much smaller with ruler marks on either side - maybe inches on one and cms on the other. If one is really fussy about good color, the color checker chart would help. It could be put in a tiny zip bag and attached to the camera strap for easy access. (I have one for my spare camera card.) The other side could be a grid pattern with the same white as in the checker pattern, for simple white balance. But, no such card exists.


Lähettänyt lynnwatson yli 8 vuotta sitten

Great suggestions. Power Bars, granola snacks, raisins - these are good and simple, and keep people going!

Lähettänyt gyrrlfalcon yli 8 vuotta sitten

I love the bandanna idea, why not just have it one half white w/black squares, the other half black w/white squares? I would think that there is a bandanna already woven half white/black...all you would need is the printed squares and a BioBlitz logo? Seems reasonable, and I would definitely use that in the field. I'd say no to the write in the rain books, because I would think most people have a smart phone on them with a notes app for recording things you might use a notebook for. Especially if we are encouraging them to use their phones for the BioBlitz. I also love the slap bracelet, because I can leave it in my car and slap it on before I head out on a hike, or leave it in my purse. And it won't take up space in a precious pocket. I do have a magnify glass that I carry in my purse all the time, that I love. I've never thought to use it for photographing with my phone, although I did use my iPhone against my binoculars last week to film some bald eagles. I was pretty pleased with the quality. If it has already been said that a hand lens works well with phone cameras, then I think that would be a great BioBlitz gift.

Lähettänyt jessica32 yli 8 vuotta sitten

How about a 6-inch thin, flat, cheap, white plastic ruler in inches and mm (like a lot of biological suppliers give away) with a hole punched in one end so that it can be worn clipped to a belt or wherever?

Lähettänyt susanhewitt noin 8 vuotta sitten

That's a good idea, @invertzoo. It's not as novel as the slap bracelet, but honestly probably 100x easier. It might be really difficult for a printer to guarantee the accuracy of a slap bracelet ruler (or bandana for that matter). I've ruled out the magnifying bookmark/ruler (I ordered a sample and it definitely won't do).

Lähettänyt carrieseltzer noin 8 vuotta sitten

If you find out who makes those nice little flat (extremely flat) rulers, I would like to buy some myself for back-up, as I only have two.

I wonder if biological suppliers still give one away with each order?

If a hole can be punched and a clip attached to the ruler that would be great. But even without that they are handy.

Lähettänyt susanhewitt noin 8 vuotta sitten

Update: We're getting rulers! Hopefully like what you described, @invertzoo! I'll send a some your way when we get them. Thank you to all who chimed in!

Lähettänyt carrieseltzer noin 8 vuotta sitten

hoping santa will send me one too for Christmas!

Lähettänyt sambiology noin 8 vuotta sitten

how about sending me a free bioblitz smartphone and camera with optical zoom? :)

Lähettänyt charlie noin 8 vuotta sitten

Woo hoo, swag. Any coming so a blitz in or near SoCal would be appreciated.

Lähettänyt finatic noin 8 vuotta sitten

Everyone on this thread, message me your mailing address (or email it to cseltzer@ngs.org) and I'll put a few in the mail for each of you once they arrive here. Sorry I can't make all of your swag wishes come true!

Lähettänyt carrieseltzer noin 8 vuotta sitten

Ok. I've finally got rulers in envelopes for @finatic, @charlie, @invertzoo, and @jessica32 because they sent me their addresses. @treegrow got one in person. Any other takers? Let me know! Sorry for the terrible delay.

Lähettänyt carrieseltzer melkein 8 vuotta sitten

Awesome! I look forward to putting it to good use.

Lähettänyt finatic melkein 8 vuotta sitten

Thanks Carrie, they will be really handy to have, great for showing scale in a photo. :)

Lähettänyt susanhewitt melkein 8 vuotta sitten

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