Margot Sakson

Nature Festival invites people to register their observation marathon locations

The sixth national nature marathon will take place on 10-11 June. All interested participants are invited to register their observation sites by 1 June.

The nature observation marathon is a thrilling, adventurous day out in nature. It is a BioBlitz-format amateur science event that identifies as many species of wildlife as possible in a given area over a given period of time. Taking part in a nature observation marathon helps participants to get to know their local wildlife better and collect data for the work of conservationists and scientists.

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To take part in the marathon, you must register an observation area by 1 June at the latest. The observation area can be public, where everyone can participate, or private, for a family exploration of nature. In either case, it is important to inform the organisers of the observation site so that the observations made can be entered in the eDiversity data portal at a later date. "Registering a survey area gives you the opportunity to learn more about the biodiversity of the site, but it also creates a bit of a competition to see which survey area has the most species," said Veljo Runnel, the marathon's organiser and chief expert in amateur research at the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden.

Seminar "Organising a nature marathon"

The registration of observation sites and the running of the marathon will be presented in more detail to all nature lovers on Thursday, 27 April, at a free seminar "Organising a nature marathon".

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The nature observation marathon is part of the Nature Festival, which this year focuses on the beauty and wildlife of gardens over five days. "I hope that the festival's choice of theme will help to highlight the uniqueness of each garden. It doesn't matter how big the garden is, because the value of a garden can be something else: it can be our nourishment or our pleasure, or a place where nature is preserved," explains Kaarin Hein, the festival's project manager.

In 2022, there were 42 observation sites in different parts of Estonia, where more than 7,000 nature observations were made, and more than 360 people took part in marathon-related events. In 2018, the marathon was awarded the Estonian Research Council's Science Popularisation Award in the category of new initiatives. The nationwide event was also recognised in the Ministry of the Environment's Environmental Achievement of the Year competition in early 2019.

The main organiser of the Nature Festival and the nature observation marathon is the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, and the co-organiser is the Birdwatcher. The nature observation marathon is part of the programme of the 9th annual Nature Festival.


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