As part of a celebration of the establishment of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Riverside County residents are invited to take part in nature hikes Friday and Saturday to take pictures of plants and animals that will be catalogued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The “BioBlitz” is scheduled between noon Friday and noon Saturday and will cover all hiking trails around Mount San Jacinto, as well as within the Santa Rosa Mountains, situated in the San Bernardino National Forest.

“We are excited to host this first-ever BioBlitz event,” said Dani Ortiz, manager for the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

“Our focus is on encouraging the enjoyment of public lands while promoting volunteerism and commemorating 20 years of stewardship, enhanced recreation and conservation.”

The BioBlitz relies on hikers capturing pictures on their phones and uploading them via the iNaturalist app, which can be found at Google Play.

The goal is for forest visitors to amass photos of plants, animals and any other organisms of interest along designated trails. The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service will catalogue the pictures and use them to confirm the species that make the mountain ranges and surrounding deserts their home, according to rangers.

“The data gathered by the public will be used by … staff to better understand the types and locations of species within the monument,” according to a Bureau of Land Management statement.

The nonprofit Friends of the Desert Mountains, which focuses on preserving space in the Coachella Valley for nature activities, is helping organize the BioBlitz. More information is available at DesertMountains.org.

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