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Snail Search of Lee County

Aquatic mollusks and their shells are very well known in Lee County, but people often forget about the area’s other mollusks: land and tree snails, and slugs. These animals and their shells may be overlooked, but snails and slugs are critical decomposers, breaking down organic material and putting those nutrients back into the soil. These animals are also prey for many other animals, and some are carnivores themselves, helping to keep the local food web in balance.

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The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is launching a new citizen science project called Snail Search of Lee County, aiming to gather more information about the biodiversity of these local land and tree snails. Previous studies in this area are sparse and outdated, and do not include photographs. It is in this area that citizen scientists play an important role, and you can be one of them! 

With the information gathered, we hope to learn more about the populations of common local species, rarely spotted local species, and introduced and invasive species. Help us learn more about the biodiversity and populations of Lee County land and tree snails by participating! All you need to do is:

How to Participate:
1.    Download the iNaturalist app and create a free account
2.    Go out and find snails and slugs!
3.    Take clear photos of observations. Photos should be as close as possible and clearly focused.
4.    Upload to the iNaturalist app (the observation will automatically be added to the project page)
5.    OR send the photo in an email with location information and a date to jfalker@shellmuseum.org. Information (GPS coordinates or exact address, date, and time) are required for each photo sent via email.
6.    Join a Snail Search and Biodiversity Walk! More information on the walks can be found below.

Click to visit our iNaturalist project page!

Snail Search and Biodiversity Walks

Want to learn more about the plant and animal populations in SW Florida, but not sure how? Join an educator from Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on a guided Snail Search and Biodiversity Walk! In addition to exploring the flora and fauna of our natural areas, these walks will show participants how to use iNaturalist, a free citizen science app that allows anyone to contribute to biological studies going on anywhere in the world. Citizen science projects allow the community to get involved by observing and documenting where species are being found, and in what quantities. This information helps scientists around the world!  

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On a Snail Search and Biodiversity Walk, the educator will take you and a small group out into the field in Lee County (various locations available) and walk you through the steps of creating a free iNaturalist account and how to use it. Then you will get the chance to contribute to a new citizen science project, Snail Search of Lee County. The purpose of Snail Search of Lee County is to help the museum learn more about the availability and location of native and invasive land and tree snails in the area. Research conducted on land and tree snails in this area is very limited, outdated, and most studies contain no photographs.  

Although it is not a guarantee that land snails will be spotted on the Snail Search and Biodiversity Walks (they can be difficult to find!), we will also be looking for plants and animals of all kinds! These interactive walks will give you all the tools you need to go out on your own and contribute to the project. Dates, times, and locations for Snail Searches are listed below. All walks are expected to last 45 minutes to 1 hour, weather depending. The walks are free (separate parking fees not included), but you must register in advance.


To sign up for a Biodiversity Walk, contact Jorden Falker at jfalker@shellmuseum.org
 
January 23rd, 2023 at 3pm:
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve; 7751 Penzance Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33966 ($1 per vehicle parking fee)

February 20th, 2023 at 10am:
Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve; 2500 SE 24th St, Cape Coral, FL 33990 (free parking)

March 13th, 2023 at 1pm:
Koreshan State Park; 3800 Corkscrew Rd, Estero, FL 33928 ($5 per vehicle parking fee)

April 26th, 2023 at 10am:
Estero Bay Preserve State Park; 4940 Broadway West, Estero, FL 33928 ($2 per vehicle parking fee)

May 24th, 2023 at 2pm:
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve; 7751 Penzance Blvd, Fort Myers, FL
 33966 ($1 per vehicle parking fee)

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