Backyard BioQuest

A player story contributed by Scott Gilmore

First Ever World BioQuest Runner up and Champion Identifier

Scott's local park was one of the nearby locations he went BioQuesting in.  Image supplied by Scott Gilmore.

Scott's local park was one of the nearby locations he went BioQuesting in. Image supplied by Scott Gilmore.

When I first heard about QuestaGame’s World Bioquest I planned on spending the whole weekend adventuring far and wide. There is certainly no shortage of places to find amazing species in my home province of British Columbia in Canada. But as a dad with kids (who were keen to compete as long as I did not go “Dad nature crazy” on them), such grand ideas are are not always practical. I didn’t end up adventuring far that weekend, but you never really have to go far to get a serious dose of nature!

For the last five years I have been documenting all the species I can find within walking distance of my house. I started with birds, got interested in moths, became obsessed by beetles, learned about bark lice and got confused by wasps. To date I have photo-documented just under a thousand species and it is only the tip of the iceberg as every time I go out I see something I have not seen before. With this knowledge I knew I could find plenty of interesting things for the World BioQuest just stepping out my backdoor.

You don’t have to travel far to find amazing biodiversity
— Scott Gilmore

For me the competition started at 1pm local time on the Friday. This meant I had just over an hour to go “Dad nature crazy” before picking up the kids from school. Saturday and Sunday had short local outings to a park, as well as to a pond behind my neighbours house, and one brief stop at the beach in between other errands. In the final hours of the competition on Monday I mowed our lawn, frequently stopping to investigate what jumped, hopped or flew out of the way.

My evenings were spent identifying other players’ sightings via QuestaGame’s Bio-Expertise Engine. As I identify, I get to see many amazing images of the wonderful creatures of Australia where I grew up. Having spent the first 30 years of my life there I really enjoy these photo tours. I get to see birds I never managed to track down when I lived there, beetles that blow my mind; and often parts of the university campus where I studied. In the end I spent far more time identifying sightings then I did looking for things to submit myself. I didn’t mind though, it’s a lovely way to explore nature through the eyes of others!

For all the Questagamers out there, know that you don’t have to travel far to find amazing biodiversity, actually you don’t even need to travel at all. Just step outside, and start looking!