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Citizen Science: Observing the Species that Live in Massachusett's Coastal Wrack Lines

On earth, there are millions of differing species - the planet’s biodiversity is vast. Here in Massachusetts, we can see lots of this biodiversity in our own backyard. Through the iNaturalist app, thousands of species sightings have been posted that show us the brilliance of Massachusetts biodiversity. These sightings are recorded from regular Massachusettsans along the shores and marinas of our state.

Covid-19 has been tough for everyone, especially children’s learning and development. This app allows kids to get out of the house and into nature observing science up close. Species scavenger hunts are a great way to have fun while also learning in a socially distanced setting. Collaborating via this social network is a way of connecting with fellow Mass residents of ALL ages, both young and old.

In #MassWreck, observers look for what lives in the wrack lines across the coastline. These volunteers take pictures of what they see, upload the sighting to iNaturalist via the app, give the location of the sighting, and it’s uploaded along with everyone else’s sightings. Things that have been documented so far are waterfowl, varieties of crab, varieties of scallops, Irish Moss, snails, various algae, and oysters. In the #MassWreck section alone, over 19,000 sightings have been recorded of almost 300 species!

The MassWrack project was created by the MassBays National Estuary Partnership and the Zoo New England City Nature Challenge. MassBays is part of the National Estuary program which was established after the passing of the Clean Water Act. MassBays strives to protect, restore, and enhance coastal habitats of 50 coastal communities in Massachusetts. The Zoo New England City Nature Challenge was created to encourage people to document nature in their surroundings and identify observations that are collected. They use the information that is collected to study biodiversity in the Boston Area and Cape Cod. To learn more about MassBays and Zoo New England and their project, visit the MassWrack project website.


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