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Join us each year for the Great Lakes BioBlitz!

2021 Great Lakes BioBlitz bannerWhat is the Great Lakes BioBlitz? An event that focuses on finding and identifying as many wild, living things as possible in the Canadian provinces and the U.S. states that have coastline on the Great Lakes during a specified period of time.

Who should participate in the BioBlitz? Teachers, educators, students, and families.

Why should I participate in the BioBlitz? It’s a way to record biodiversity, the variety of wild living things found in a given area.

How do I participate?  Simply create a free iNaturalist account and upload your photos to your state’s BioBlitz project.  For added fun, participate in the weekly aquatic and terrestrial challenges!

When do I participate?

Starts: Earth Day, every year

Ends: May 20th, every year

Where? The BioBlitz will take place in yards and other outdoor spaces all across Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.


Want to know more?

Keep reading!


What is the Great Lakes BioBlitz?

In 2020, in response to requests for activities that get youth and families outdoors, the Center for Great Lakes Literacy launched the Great Lakes wide project, Great Lakes BioBlitz (formerly called the Great Lakes Educators’ BioBlitz).  We encourage our communities to use iNaturalist to post photo observations of as many wild, living things in a specific area over a short period of time as possible.

Why would we want to encourage our community to do this?

Participating in a BioBlitz is a good way to engage in an outdoor activity. It can provide teachers and families with a tool to get outside and engage in making observations and learning about wild living things in the world around them. Teachers, youth, and their families can participate directly in an online community of observers. Participants can make observations for their state project and see how many observations are being made in other states. From a Great Lakes Literacy standpoint, links can be found in Great Lakes Literacy Principle #5.

How do I get on to iNaturalist and join in the BioBlitz?

Joining is as easy as saying “One-two-three-CHEESE!”

  1. Download the iNaturalist app (or you can access iNaturalist through your computer) and create an account.
  2. Become a member of the BioBlitz project for your state/province and the CGLL Great Lakes BioBlitz umbrella project (see below).
  3. Take photos of wild, living things within the app or upload via your computer.

Other fun things to do as a part of the Great Lakes BioBlitz:

Watch for weekly challenges in our sidebar to spice up your nature observation activities!  You can also find the weekly challenges on the iNaturalist umbrella project page.


How do I join the umbrella project or

my state project?


The links for each state and the Great Lakes BioBlitz “umbrella” project will be posted every year in late March or early April. To become a member of the project and a member of the Great Lakes BioBlitz “umbrella” project, simply log into your account, navigate to the project you want to join, and click on the “join” button.  Be sure to join for the current year every year!

Joining the umbrella project as well as your local state/province project allows you to view the Great Lakes BioBlitz leaderboard to see how many observations each state is making.


Are you new to iNaturalist and need more help for yourself or your community?


 Check out these great tools from iNaturalist:


Have more questions about iNaturalist or the Great Lakes BioBlitz?

Contact Marte Kitson at [email protected] or 218-726-8305.

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