HomeRiver Bioblitz 2023

A BioBlitz is a comprehensive and cooperative study of a particular area to list all the living species during a predetermined time, usually 24 hours. A BioBlitz’s main objective is to capture a moment in time of the biodiversity present in a particular area. Naturalists, scientists, and community members usually organise these activities to identify and record as many species as they can.

We had our second Homeriver BioBlitz event initiated by River Collective bringing together nature enthusiasts from different countries on all continents in the world, e.g. Kenya, Mexico, Italy, Russia, Thailand, Chile, Ecuador, etc. We joined hands with young earth warriors aged 4-12 years, from ESPA  for a day of immersive exploration and biodiversity discovery.  The event took place at Kitale Nature Conservancy (Ndura Park) on 24th September and its primary goal was to engage participants in hands-on learning about the local ecosystem.

We converged at Ndura at 10:00 a.m. We ensured that all the facilitators were able to use the iNaturalist app in terms of uploading pictures and learning about the different species that they belong to. We worked in groups while walking along the trail making observations and taking pictures of plants, insects, microorganisms and any other living things that inhabited the area that we came across. The trail was filled with larvae (Leornad’s Achea) which formed the bigger part of our observation from how they looked to how they moved and the sound they produced as there were many of them. Most of the observations were made by kids as they pointed and took pictures of what captured their interest.

Leonard’s Achea Larvae

Child- “these worms are moving like caterpillar,yet they are not”

Our second session was marked by a mass exploration of organisms in water and different insect species along a small stream using foldscopes ( a paper-based microscope developed to make microscopy more accessible). First, we taught the kids how to use foldscopes like placing specimens and how to observe them. They then took the lead in looking for relevant specimens that they could find. This activity demonstrated their curiosity as they sought out specimens and observed and gave their feedback excitedly on what they had seen through the foldscopes. 

Children viewing specimens using foldscopes

Child – “When I look at the grasshopper’s leg it doesn’t have hairs but when I observe through the foldscope, I see some hairs”

Child- “I wish that we had these foldscopes at home so that we could use them anytime we want”

As the young minds immersed themselves in the diverse fabric of nature, they not only gained a scientific understanding of ecosystems but also cultivated a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of all living things. Our gratitude goes to River Collective, ESPA, nature enthusiasts and all the observers across the globe for teaming with us to make the event successful as we look forward to the next BioBlitz event next year.

Author:  Magdalene Chorongo