[email protected] - some highlights from 12 years of iSpotnature.org activity

iSpot@12 - some highlights from 12 years of iSpotnature.org activity

[email protected] - some highlights from 12 years of iSpotnature.org activity - UK and Ireland : In 2008, we started developing iSpot: your place to share nature and in June 2009, almost 12 years a

In 2008, we started developing iSpot: your place to share nature and in June 2009, almost 12 years ago, iSpot was launched to the public. This project kick starts and acknowledges iSpot’s 12-year anniversary. This is just the start of the celebrations, there will be more to come so do look out!
Trawling through the archives and iSpot activity has been a nostalgic trip down memory lane; a reminder of how far we have come, just how much you our community has done to get us here; while symbolising where we would like to go in the future.
The images you see at the front of the project show transitions of the website over the years. While reflecting on this, I have attempted to share some of my memories, with associated observations (highlighted below under 12 different themes); including one with a few observations which just piqued my interest for one reason or another. I have tagged them: [email protected].
Read on to join my trip down memory lane, you’re welcome to join in, if you like! To include your own favourite observations, add the tag [email protected]:
1. Autumn 2008: Getting started - building the system, making IDs, recording the unrecorded. and noticing the unusual:
2. Spring 2009: the start of the iSpot Mentors programme, a UK-wide team who supported our public engagement activities and helped to build the iSpot community. The programme ran from 2009 – 2014: Here Rob shares curious sighting of a ‘mystery egg’:
3. June 2009: official public launch of iSpot. One of the first observations was a spider spotted at the launch event and then posted on iSpot by Doug, a former member of the iSpot team:
4. A post on iSpot demonstrating early exactly what iSpot set out to do: user found something in the garden didn’t know what it was posted got an ID supporting a child’s interest in nature: “Many thanks for the identification - my son will be taking the bug into school today to show his friends, and now will be able to impress them with some knowledge as well!” https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/global/view/observation/622/some-garden-bug
5. In October 2009 this moth was found on a windowsill by a 6-year-old girl it was identified as the Euonymus Leaf Notcher (Pryeria sinica), the first found in Europe! https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/2227/furry-moth
6. The BBC Radio 4 Saving Species series launched in April 2010 and had a significantly positive impact on growth in the use of iSpot. It ran for three years and was a large OU-BBC co-production link for iSpot. In October 2010 a special Fungal Foray was held with iSpot users invited to attend, here are a few of the highlights from the event tag - bioblitz-NewForestFungi:
7. March 2012: iSpot reached 100,000 observations. iSpot’s observation no. 100,000 was a rather charming Common Groundhopper, observed by ophrys: https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/99520/groundhopper
8. August 2013: a quarter of a million observations. iSpot received observation no. 250,000! The quarter-of-a-millionth place was a tie between observations from the UK and South Africa to iSpot. Here is the UK observation of courting malachite beetles (UK), by markandfran: https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/187255/malachite-beetles
9. October 2014: iSpot leads to fungus discovery. A bright orange fungus was found at Primley Park in Paignton, UK, by the nature reserve warden, The fungus seemed distinctive but was not found in any ID books at the time, so iSpot was turned to for help. iSpotter 'Fungorum' was able to suggest an identification as Orange Pore fungus (Favolaschia calocera) which was confirmed by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Devon Fungus Group and British Mycological Society. The observation can be seen here: https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/289905/pretty-little-fungi .
10. May 2015: Half a million observations. iSpot passed 500,000 observations an amazing celebration of the diversity of life and of the enthusiasm of iSpotters all round the world in finding species and helping each other identify them. Our estimates were that the half-millionth observation was of a Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus primulifolius), https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/southern-africa/view/observation/501334/streptocarpus. Worthy mentions too for no. 499,999 (a combination of two Scottish plants) https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/501333/unknown-white-flower-in-coastal-rock-crevice and no. 500,001 an Azure Damselfly from Woodwalton Fen, England https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/501335/damselfly-puzzle.
11. iSpot user James McCulloch won the NBN UK biological recording Youth Award at 12 years old in November 2015. James was announced the winner of the Gilbert White youth award for recording terrestrial and freshwater wildlife. At the time he had contributed over 2,200 observations and over 2,500 identifications to iSpot and over 30 projects on iSpot ranging from Longworth trapping to Bryophyte identification. See one of James’ projects here: www.ispotnature.org/projects/knepp-rewilding-project.
12. Curiosities, questions and interest: here are a few posts solving mysteries, posing queries and a few highlighted just because …
• Star Jelly Mystery solved: iSpot was noted as finally solving the long running 'Star Jelly Mystery'. In January 2011 there were quite a few observations of a mysterious jelly appearing in odd places and contending explanations of what it might be, see some of the debate and the result here:
• A plant that smells like mice?: https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/global/view/observation/117970/hounds-tongue
• Wood or bone?: This observation https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/578512/bone-on-beach drew some interest. Was it a rib or part of the jaw? Or a bone from a whale, if so where was the rest of the skeleton? Have a look and add your comments to this and other discussions around an observation.
• Friendly little lady?: https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/global/view/observation/723640/where-did-this-friendly-little-lady-come-from
• Whose poo is this?: https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/global/view/observation/734662/whose-poo
• Get a room - mating flies: https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/global/view/observation/734676/mating-robber-flies
• iSpot co-hosted the NBN Conference in November 2020 while participating in the NBN Conference bioblitz I managed to find this small burst of colour in a hedge on an autumnal day: https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/814565/last-blooms-of-autumn-2020
• Although it is a beauty, thank goodness I didn’t spot this Alopecosa pulverulenta:
Thanks for joining my iSpot trip down memory lane, it wasn't easy narrowing down to a few. You’re welcome to join in, add the tag [email protected] to your own favourite observations.
Happy iSpotting!
Senior Project Manager – Citizen Science / iSpot Project Manager
The Open University
Volunteer to make a WEEKLY ❤️ iFOCUS! Please see the weekly ❤️ iFOCUS GUIDE for more information: https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/project/822207/ifocus-guide
31 May 2021
Janice A