Big Year FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year

  1. What is a Big Year?

  2. What is the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

  3. What is a “Sighting,” and What is an “Action” or “Action Item”?

  4. How do I participate in the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

  5. If I sign-up, do I need to participate for the entire year?

  6. Does it cost anything to participate in the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

  7. Are there prizes for winning the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

  8. What are the rules of the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

  9. Will endangered species be harmed by the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

  10. Which species are included in the 2012 GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year?

  11. Where is the Golden Gate National Park?

  12. Isn’t species “X” extirpated from the GGNRA?

  13. Why isn’t conservation action item “X” conducted inside the GGNP?

  14. Who is behind the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?


  1. What is a Big Year?

    A “Big Year” is a competitive event where people race to see the most species in a specified geographic area in a specific year. The term was coined by competitive birders and gained popular acclaim through the best-selling book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik. The Big Year chronicles the biggest year of them all: the North American Big Year, where individuals race to see as many birds as possible within North America.

    There are many variations on the theme: some alter the time frame (Big Day, Big Month, etc.) while others alter the geographic area (County Big Year, State Big Year, etc.) and some alter both.

  2. What is the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

    The 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year is similar to other big year competitions, but it is unique in several ways. First, it focuses only on endangered species. Second, it expands the big year beyond birds to all endangered flora and fauna. Third, in this big year, participants not only compete to see the most species, but also to complete actions that help the species recover. Fourth, the geographic area of focus is the Golden Gate National Parks, our nation’s great urban national park experiment.

  3. What is a “Sighting,” and What is an “Action” or “Action Item”?

    The GGNP Endangered Species Big Year is a competition to both see endangered species and help those species recover.

    When you successfully see an endangered species within the GGNP, we call that a sighting. When you successfully do something to help species recover, we call that an action or an action item.

    During the 2012 Big Year, there are 36 endangered species that can be found within the Park, so there are up to 36 sightings that you can check-off on your competition checklist.

    We have also created 36 action items that you can complete to help these species recover. Each action item is specifically tailored to help a particular endangered species.

    Altogether, that means you can get up to 72 different “checks” on your checklist: up to 36 species sightings and up to 36 action items can be checked-off as you race towards the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year grand prize.

    Although some action items are much more difficult to complete than others, there is no reason why you couldn’t complete each of the 36 action items before the year is up. On the other hand, several of the GGNP’s endangered species simply cannot be seen in the park anymore, because they are too rare. Review the checklist to find out more about the species you’ll have the best chance of locating in 2012.

  4. How do I participate in the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

    Participating in the Endangered Species Big Year is easy:

    First, sign-up for the Big Year. Signing up is a two-step process: first join the Wild Equity Institute’s on-line community by signing up for this website. Shortly thereafter you will receive an e-mail message with a link back to our website. On the webpage where that link directs you to, you will see an option to join the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year. Just fill out the form and submit it, and you are ready to compete in the Big Year!

    Second, review the endangered species you will be looking for, and find out how you can help them recover. You can download a checklist of the species and action items after you sign up.

    Third, check out the Endangered Species Big Year Calendar page to find out when and how you can see these species in the GGNP or participate in conservation actions scheduled. You may also explore the GGNP on your own to complete your checklist.

    Fourth, as you see species and take action items, check them off your checklist and then submit your completed items to the Big Year organizers on-line. For each action item and species you want to check-off, you must go to the corresponding species’ webpage and enter the data into the form on that page.

    Fifth, if you like, you can interact with this web site and other Big Year competitors: you may comment about each species and conservation action item on each species’ page, and you can also find out about the latest sightings and share information with other competitors by joining the Big Year Group and community forum when you sign-up for the competition. If you want to be added or removed from this group, just let the Big Year organizers know and we’ll be happy to assist you!

  5. If I sign-up, do I need to participate for the entire year?

    You do not need to participate for the entire year. You may participate as much or as little as you like. You can explore the GGNP on your own with your checklist; you can come out on one trip or participate in one action item; or you can try and complete the entire checklist within the year.

  6. Does it cost anything to participate in the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

    The 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year is a free event. There is no charge to participate or to come on any Big Year trip. Completing some of the conservation action items may require spending funds, depending on how you try to complete them. However, anyone is welcome to contribute to the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year by volunteering time or donating funds to the Wild Equity Institute.

  7. Are there prizes for winning the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

    There are prizes for participating and for winning the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year. Prizes may be given out over the year to competitors who meet certain milestones, like entering their first action item and sighting, or being the first to find a sea otter during the year, or seeing and helping save the most species by the end of the year. More details on these prizes will be given throughout the year.

    Anyone who finds a new population of an endangered species in the GGNP or rediscovers a species that is presumed extirpated from the park will, of course, be met with great appreciation and acclaim!

  8. What are the rules of the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

    There are several rules for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year:

    1. The competition runs from January 1, 2012, 12:00:00 a.m. to December 31, 2012, 11:59:59 p.m. All sightings and action items must be completed within that time.
    2. You and/or the species must be within the GGNP’s legislative boundary when you see a species to check it off your GGNP Endangered Species Big Year list. However, if both you and the species are outside the legislative boundary when you see it, you may not count that sighting towards your GGNP Endangered Species Big Year.
    3. You may not substitute conservation action items. Although there are many ways to help endangered species, no substitutions are allowed for the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year. If you have suggestions for future conservation action items, you may e-mail them to Brent Plater.
    4. All participants must agree to comply with the Endangered Species Big Year’s Ethical Principles. No exceptions.

    The 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year runs on the honor system. No one will be looking over your shoulder to make sure you fill out your checklist accurately, but highly unusual sightings may be subject to verification.

  9. Will endangered species be harmed by the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

    The 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year is working closely with the Park’s Natural Resources Staff to ensure that all trips and conservation action items are safe for people and wildlife alike. While there is always some risk involved with helping people see and save endangered species, every possible precaution has been taken to ensure that the Big Year is safe. In addition, all Big Year participants must abide by the Endangered Species Big Year’s Ethical Principles. No exceptions.

  10. Which species are included in the 2012 GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year?

    Only species protected as endangered or threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act are part of the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year. The Endangered Species Act defines “species” to include “any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species or vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.”

    Presence in the GGNP is determined by the National Park Service based on recovery plans, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documents, historical records, and recent surveys. The Big Year adopts the list compiled by the National Park Service, and does not add or subtract any species without the National Park Service does so first after reviewing the best scientific information available.

  11. Where is the Golden Gate National Park?

    The GGNP has an expansive legislative boundary that is larger than you may imagine. It includes lands in three California counties: San Mateo, San Francisco, and Marin Counties. Within these three counties, the GGNP includes lands that the GGNP directly manages, such as Mori Point, Ocean Beach, & the Marin Headlands; lands that the GGNP has contractual relationships with other land owners, such as the San Francisco Watershed lands in San Mateo County; lands that the GGNP owns adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore that Point Reyes manages on behalf of the GGNP; and lands such as Angel Island that the GGNP doesn’t currently own but simply has been given the right to purchase by Congress. Even a portion of Edgewood County Park in San Mateo County is within the GGNP’s legislative boundary. The boundary even extends 1/4 mile out to sea, and the GGNP therefore includes many marine species endangered or threatened with extinction.

  12. Isn’t species “X” extirpated from the GGNRA?

    Declaring a species extirpated from the GGNP is difficult to do, because there is a possibility that a rare species escapes detection. Some species that are part of the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year may be extirpated from the GGNP, but scientists are not ready to declare this yet definitively. It may also be that scientists believe that although the species is currently extirpated from the GGNP, it is likely to return to the GGNP under the right conditions. You may be the lucky person to rediscover one of these species in the Park.

  13. Why isn’t conservation action item “X” conducted inside the GGNP?

    Some conservation action items are designed to be completed outside of the GGNP. This is so because these items are important for species recovery as a whole, which will ultimately benefit the species’ populations within the GGNP. For example, restoration opportunities for some species are outside the GGNP’s legislative boundary, but they are likely to benefit the species’ populations within the GGNP. Similarly, action items that require you to contact public officials are likely to ultimately benefit the species’ populations within the GGNP.

  14. Who is behind the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year?

    The Wild Equity Institute organizes the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year in partnership with a wide variety of non-profit organizations, including Nature in the City, the San Francisco Zoo, Golden Gate Audubon Society, the National Parks Conservation Association, the San Francisco Naturalist Society, & the Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.


Comments

There are no comments so far.

If you sign up and log in, you can post comments.