24 Hours and 500+ Species Documented

During a 24-hour period over the weekend, Balboa Park was in a science frenzy.

Citizen scientists, including employees from SDG&E and Sempra Energy, roamed the park to document as many species of wild plants and animals as they could find in a quest to help San Diego win a global nature challenge.

No, even as beautiful as they are, the Koi fish in Balboa Park’s famous Koi pond did not count.

Using a smartphone app called iNaturalist, volunteers snapped hundreds of pictures of birds, bees, lizards, squirrels etc. and then uploaded the images. A popular tool for biologists and nature lovers around the globe, the app helps identify species based on the uploaded pictures. Once a photo is uploaded into the app, the large community of nature lovers, citizen scientists and biologists helps confirm species identification.

Approximately 570 species were documented as part of the so called Balboa Park BioBlitz. This adds to the library of more than eight million observations that have been uploaded to the app since the iNaturalist project began in 2008.

City Nature Challenge

The San Diego Natural History Museum hosted the 24-hour BioBlitz, which was special for two reasons. First, it marked the 10-year anniversary of the museum’s last rapid biodiversity assessment, which was conducted in 2008. Second, the BioBlitz was part of the City Nature Challenge, which ended on Monday. More than 60 cities worldwide joined the challenge to see which would make the most wildlife observations over a four-day period. San Diego came in second place behind San Francisco with more than 31,000 specie observed over the four-day period.

Partnering to Protect Local Wildlife

SDG&E sponsored the BioBlitz as part of our company’s Environmental Champions program, which provides grants to local organizations working to improve the region’s environment. Approximately 30 of our employees and their families participated in the BioBlitz.