MountainTrue, an organization that champions resilient forests, clean waters and healthy communities, has launched a bigger and better Bioblitz in 2021, expanding county participation from one to three.

While the competition launched June 5, it continues through June 19 and there is still plenty of time to participate. Sign up on the iNaturalist web and smartphone platform, with more information available at mountaintrue.org/2021-bioblitz/.

Bioblitz 2021 is a regional competition taking place virtually across three counties — Jackson, Transylvania and Watauga, and is a great opportunity for experts and aspiring naturalists to get outside and add to the scientific record by documenting the vast biodiversity of the region.

Scores will be tallied for each county and for individual participants, with prizes and bragging rights for winners.

Prizes will be awarded to individual winners in the following categories: Overall best observation, most total observations, most species, most birds, most arthropods (including insects) and most fungi.

Organizers will recognize the County Champion of Biodiversity as the county that receives the most observations of unique species. Additional recognition will go to the county with the most participants and the most observations submitted.

“The MountainTrue 2021 Bioblitz is a great opportunity for people to connect with and learn about the natural world around them,” said MountainTrue Public Lands Biologist Josh Kelly. “This year, by expanding the blitz to three counties and making a game of it, we hope to be able to engage more people and find more species. We might even find some that have never been recorded in our region.”

MountainTrue first took its Bioblitz to iNaturalist in 2020 as a safer alternative during COVID-19. Last year, 97 observers documented over 1,100 unique species.

This year, MountainTrue hopes to record even more species and make a greater contribution to the scientific record for the region.

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