LifeOnVashon.com was designed by Tim DiChiara (with coding help from Julian DiChiara) with the goal of increasing awareness and inspiring activism about the diversity of species found on Vashon-Maury Island. Populating the database was led by the Vashon Nature Center, whose mission is to build a community of islanders and visitors who connect with local natural wonders and with each other through research, education and citizen science.
What is biodiversity?
The Convention on Biological Diversity defines biodiversity as "the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems." Thus, biodiversity includes genetic variation within species, the variety of species in an area, and the variety of habitat types within a landscape.
Biodiversity is of fundamental importance to the functioning of all natural and human-engineered ecosystems, and by extension to the ecosystem services that nature provides free of charge to human society. Living organisms play central roles in the cycles of major elements (carbon, nitrogen, and so on) and water in the environment, and diversity specifically is important in that these cycles require numerous interacting species.
Vashon and Maury Islands' rich biodiversity is nearly matched by the abundance of nature lovers who live here -- from backyard naturalists and curious kids, to biologists and ecologists. By drawing on our collective talents and enthusiasm, we hope to build awareness about and appreciation for wildlife and natural places on the islands we call home. Vashon Nature Center's goal is to create a growing legacy of information about the animals, plants and environments that surround us, and nurture a community of people who seek to know them better. By making them known and accounted for, we strengthen our connections with all living things, leading us to make discoveries about ourselves and our own place on these islands.
Friends of LifeOnVashon.com
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