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The end of February brings the curtain down on a mini-project that has been beavering away in the background. SummerMAP. During December, January and February we have quietly been accumulating the coverage displayed on this map. Do we have enough data to be able to make a statement about the distribution of species in the summer of 2013/14? There are certainly some areas, especially Gauteng, Kruger National Park and coastal KwaZulu-Natal, where we have extensive coverage. The analysts will have to tell us whether what we have achieved is good enough! Whatever they say, the coverage is remarkable; 2002 pentads visited, 3945 checklists submitted so far, nearly a quarter of a million records collected. From the start of the project in July 2007, it took until August 2008 to get coverage of the first 2000 pentads. Now we achieve in three months what took us 14 months at the start of SABAP2.
From March to May our miniproject is AutumnMAP. This represents our one and only opportunity to document the timing of departure of migrants on northward migration. One of the predictions of global climate change is that long-distance bird migrants will be impacted. SABAP2 is one of the best projects anywhere in the world to test these predictions. There are two reasons why we are in such a good position: (1) unlike most bird atlas projects, we collect data throughout the year, including the migration seasons; (2) we have the data collected during SABAP1 for comparison purposes. First analyses show that we are collecting sufficient data each year. We encourage atlasers to tackle all their pentads, several times, if possible, during the next three months. And to tackle them as if this was the start of the project!
From next Saturday 8 March to the following Sunday 16 March we celebrate “Citizen Science Week.” The dates are chosen to coincide with “Open Education Week.” This is a global event, see www.openeducationweek.org. The ADU is delighted to be able to make “Citizen Science Week” a component event of UCT’s Open Education Week. “Open Education” is primarily about “Sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built − sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education − Open Education seeks to scale up educational opportunities by taking advantage of the power of the internet, allowing rapid and essentially free dissemination, and enabling people around the world to access knowledge, connect and collaborate.” In real tangible ways, the ADU’s projects achieve precisely the goals of “Open Education.” We have never set out to make “Open Education” a primary goal of what we do, it is a delightful by-product.
The ADU Virtual Museum has had a brilliant start to the year. In January and February 8104 records were submitted, compared with 3937 in these two months last year. There is a great visual report on Virtual Museum progress in 2013 2013 Progress. And there are instructions on how to do submissions at How to submit.