Project BioD

Shutter-bugging in India

Update: We have since heard from Mr. Mohammed Dilawar who has clarified that species location information will indeed be gathered from participants; also, the two photos limit (per participant) is to ensure enough time is allocated for judging each submission.


A blue bottle butterfly

A blue bottle butterfly

In an effort to raise awareness and appreciation of biodiversity in one’s immediate environs (“backyards”), the Indian environmental group ‘Nature Forever Society‘ has joined hands with The Hindu, to launch a countrywide photo contest  

Readers are encouraged to submit up to two photographs of the flora and fauna around them to The Hindu’s in-house app. Participants can also rate and share submissions at the site. The top entries will be displayed on the site while the winning entry will be featured. All other submissions will be archived.

The shutterbug initiative is a good example of an initiative that increases public awareness about local flora and fauna (very important), but overlooks the importance of data collection in the larger goal of biodiversity conservation.

How easy it would have been to achieve both goals – public awareness and reusability for science purposes — with just a few simple additions:

1. Requesting participants to at least attach a general (if not a precise) location information of where the image was taken.
2. Removing the limit on number of image submissions
3. Proposing to deliver the entire cache of images to the public participatory biodiversity portal of India, the India Biodiversity Portal

We will contact the organizers and request them to consider these modifcations. Whatever the result, we hope the competition gains popularity in India, and thus helps in raising awareness.

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Online Biodiversity Games and Education