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This Week at the Museum

March 27, 2017
Citizen Science
Curators at the Georgia Museum of Natural History had to take a pass on the donation of an insect collection – no data. An objet d’art, yes, but without scientific value.

So what information adds scientific value to a specimen such as this snail, say? Three things: Where did it come from, when was it found, and who found it. That’s what you’ll see on those little labels beneath pinned insect specimens, or on the tags attached to birds in the Museum cases.

Where was it found? What county and state?  A little more? Most cell phones today will show latitude and longitude, and those two pretty much cover it.

When was it collected? Personally, I prefer to see the date spelled out. If there’s room on the tag.

Who found it? Yes, that’s important. Naturalists and curators maintain field notebooks where they describe their excursions. Citizen scientists should do that, too. It adds immensely to their efforts.

The Georgia Museum of Natural History does archive some photos, county records of birds and herps, provided that the images are well documented. Digital cameras and especially cell phones should have the location data turned on. Archiving photos does not substitute for actual physical specimens, says Director Freeman.

Yes, citizen scientists have a lot to offer. Document the presence of invaders, extension of ranges, things like that. Please record the basic information.

And the snail in the photo? Madison County GA, 34.2321, -83.1608. 26 March 2017. MC Freeman.
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-- Cheers from Dac Crossley, President
Friends of the Georgia Museum of Natural History.
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