Science is all around us. You can help scientists by participating in Ohio’s very own BioBlitz!

What is a BioBlitz?

A BioBlitz is a way for our community to work together to find as many species as possible in Ohio. All you need to do is go outside and take a picture of a plant or animal you see in nature. Take as many photos of living things as you want! Put your photos on iNaturalist, and scientists will be able to use them for their research!

Any photos taken and uploaded to iNaturalist from May 1-4, 2024, will count towards the BioBlitz.

How many observations can we get in 2024?

How to participate:

1. Download the free iNaturalist app and create a profile.

2. Take a photo. Using the app, take a clear, focused photo (or a few) of a plant or animal in nature. Upload it as an observation. You have made your first observation!

3. Learn. Naturalists and other community members will help you to identify the organism.

Make as many observations as you want. Please do not track pets or gardens. We will be keeping track to see how many different species we can identify as a community during the BioBlitz!

How to use iNaturalist:

Be a Scientist

A BioBlitz is a great example of citizen science. Citizen science projects allow anyone to take part in real science.
You can participate on your own, with your family, or in the classroom.

If you are an educator and want to use the BioBlitz in your classroom, check out our BioBlitz Educator Guide.


Contact us via email at [email protected].

These events have passed, but check out
the archive of 2023 Community BioBlitz events!

Stay tuned for more events in 2024!

All Be A Scientist
Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks (@ Schrock Lake Picnic Shelter #3)

Sharon Woods BioBlitz: Backyard Blast

Drop by anytime between 6-8pm to learn how to become a citizen scientist in your own backyard. We'll teach you how to use the free app iNaturalist to record and document the natural world around you. Your observations will help add to the park's biodiversity list and may even be used by scientists around the world! Be sure to download the iNaturalist app and sign up for a free account before the program.

All Be A Scientist
Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks (@ Glacier Ridge Metro Park)

COSI BioBlitz- Be a Citizen Scientist

Join the naturalist for a fun and interactive citizen science program! Using iNaturalist, we'll observe Glacier Ridge's biodiversity on a guided hike.

All Be A Scientist
Columbus Recreation and Parks (@ McKnight Outdoor Education Center)

Bioblitz with Columbus Recreation and Parks

Join us at the McKnight Outdoor Education Center on May 3rd for the BioBlitz with Columbus Recreation and Parks! We will be canoeing, kayaking, hiking and using iNaturalist to record what bugs, birds and other animals we find. Please wear closed-toe shoes and bring your smartphone.

All Be A Scientist
Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks (@ Blacklick Woods Nature Center)

Blacklick Woods BioBlitz

Be a scientist! Help survey the wildlife, plants and fungi of Blacklick Woods during this BioBlitz. Learn to use iNaturalist as a tool for surveying and identifying organisms and then take a hike to see what you can find and record!

All Be A Scientist
Ohio Scenic Rivers Program (@ McKitrick Park)

Stream Exploration in the Big Darby Creek: Plain City

Explore for stream life with an ODNR guide from the Ohio Scenic Rivers Program. Estimate water quality, observe the signs of a healthy stream environment, and learn what you can do to protect waterways.

All Be A Scientist
Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks (@ Little Darby Picnic Area)

For Families: Blooms and Birds BioBlitz Hike

Take a 1.5-mile guided hike through different habitats to observe blooms and birds. Trail is hilly in places and unimproved. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about iNaturalist and how to submit nature observations during this mini "Bio Blitz". No experience necessary. Please download the free iNaturalist app on your smartphone prior to attending.

There are a lot of great places to find organisms: try your backyard, the sidewalk, a trail, or even a metro park. Look around for trees, birds, mushrooms, insects and weeds!

These are examples of “captive” or “cultivated” species. You can still upload them to iNaturalist but you should mark them as “captive or cultivated” in the observation. That way, scientists will know that they aren’t growing there naturally. This will be called a “casual observation” in iNaturalist and won’t count toward our BioBlitz. Nonetheless, it is perfectly fine to practice making observations with your cultivated and captive species!

Not at all! Anyone over the age of 13 can create a profile on iNaturalist. Families with children under 13 can work together to capture photos under one profile. Once you post an image, it will be made public on iNaturalist. Experts, naturalists, scientists, and hobbyists can then help you to identify the species you found (be sure to check back to iNaturalist later to see if your image was identified!)

In order for observations to count for the BioBlitz stats, they must be identified. We would love to have your help identifying species found during our BioBlitz.
Here’s how:
On the computer: Log in to and click “Identify” on the top gray bar. You can then filter the images you’re looking at: Click “Filters” (to the right of the “Go” button), then “More Filters,” and type in our Project: “COSI Science Festival BioBlitz 2020.”  This will provide you with all of the observations within our project, and you can suggest an identification.
On the app: Join our project so that you can identify species within the project. Under the upper left hand side dropdown, select “Projects.” Tap the magnifying glass to search for our project: “COSI Science Festival BioBlitz 2022.” Within that project, you can click on any observation to suggest an identification. On the observation page, you will see photos taken of the organism. Click the comment button (in the middle) to add an ID suggestion.

Your suggestion may agree or disagree with other identifications. That’s okay – this is how iNaturalist works! When enough people agree on an identification, it will be considered Research Grade.

We would like to know if you’re a naturalist helping us out. If you are a naturalist or local expert and are dedicating your time during our BioBlitz, please reach out to Director of Science Content Marci Howdyshell

Yes! And we have created materials to help you do so, which will vary depending on what grade level you teach. Click here to view the Educator’s Guide. We hope you will be able to use iNaturalist to help your students see and appreciate the biodiversity of their own community.

Here’s how to make your observations count:

1.     Take good pictures! Make sure the organism is in focus. Consider taking a few pictures from different angles to help with identification.
2.     Make sure that the date, time, and location are tracked. You can add these manually (you will need to be specific) or just allow your phone to track them. Observations will only count if they were collected in Ohio during the BioBlitz event.
3.     Make sure you are taking pictures of plants and animals in the wild – not captive (your pet) or cultivated (your garden). It’s okay to practice with those observations, but they should be marked “captive/cultivated” and will be considered casual observations on the platform.
4.     Please do not take pictures of humans for iNaturalist; remember that these images go public immediately and will be flagged.

You can follow our project on iNaturalist!

On the computer: You can find the project page at

On the app: Under the upper left hand side dropdown, select “Projects.” Tap the magnifying glass to search for our project: “COSI Science Festival BioBlitz 2021.” Within that project, you can click “Join” to keep up-to-date on the project.

On the project page, you’ll be able to see our current number of observations, number of different species, and people participating. We will also have a leaderboard showing users who have the most observations and the most species!![/accordion_item]

[accordion_item title=”What is Citizen Science?”]Citizen Science is a way for EVERYONE to participate in scientific research! iNaturalist is just one of the many programs and projects that give the public an opportunity to contribute to research projects.

There are a lot of different ways to get involved in Citizen Science. Check out the websites below for more Citizen Science projects:

A BioBlitz is a species identification event. The goal of a BioBlitz is to identify as many species as possible in a specified region over a certain amount of time.

Once a species is identified by a certain number of people, it will be considered “Research Grade.” These observations are available to any scientists looking to use them. iNaturalist also keeps an ongoing list of scientific publications and news articles that have cited iNaturalist in their work.

We are happy to answer them! Send your question to the COSI Department of Science Content and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.