Berkshire Bioblitz Invites Families to Participate as Citizen Scientists

Berkshire Bioblitz
Burbank Park in Pittsfield
Sept 22-23, 2012

Families are invited to be citizen scientists in the Berkshires, Sept 22nd & 23rd at the Berkshire Bioblitz! From their participation in the bioblitz, kids will learn to identify plant and animal species that they see often, and learn about the role that each species plays within the local ecosystem. Great for budding naturalists! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

When learning about biodiversity, students are often shown far away landscapes – such as jungles and deserts – as examples of places with unique sets of plants, animals, and interesting terrain.  The fields, forests, lakes, and streams of Western Massachusetts, however, are bursting with a wide variety of trees, grasses, flowers, insects, birds, fish, and mammals of all sizes!

The annual Berkshire Bioblitz, a community event centered around discovering and identifying the numerous species present locally, will take place in Pittsfield’s Burbank Park on September 22nd and 23rd.  The event includes workshops and nature walks, along with a group effort to scour the park to find and identify as many different species as possible.  At last year’s blitz, over 450 different species of lichens, fungi, mammals, mosses, plants, insects and more were found (including two species of bees never before formally identified in Massachusetts!).

Participating in the bioblitz is a way for families to engage with their surroundings as citizen scientists, and to learn to identify the many different species found locally (perhaps even in your backyard!).  There will be trained biologists and naturalists on hand at the event to help participants identify what they have found, and families can also utilize field guides to pair their findings with photos, drawings, and descriptions (great practice for kids learning to use research materials).  For more information, visit www.berkshirebioblitz.org.

1 Comment

  1. Emma Kerr said,

    September 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    A group of 78 fifth grade students from Egremont Elementary School, a Pittsfield public school, will gather at Burbank Park on Friday, September 21, to act as citizen scientists and explore the park before the public BioBlitz activities over the weekend. For the past few years the Berkshire Museum has partnered with an area school to bring students into the action and excitement of the BioBlitz. This year the Berkshire Museum has partnered with Egremont Elementary School to engage the students throughout the school year with Living Landscapes, a dynamic natural science curriculum. The student BioBlitz is a kick-off event to launch to the students into an exciting year of plant and animal studies, experiments, observations, and outdoor exploration through Living Landscapes.
    So far the students have studied scientists and naturalists and what they do, and how scientists classify plants and animals. They’ll put both lessons together at the park on Friday as they explore the park’s habitats with local and statewide naturalists and learn how to identify the plants and animals they find.
    For teachers, educators, and parents who are interested in learning more about using the outdoors as a living classroom, visit http://berkshiremuseum.org/living_landscapes/index.html. Living Landscapes focuses on natural science but also includes connections to math, language arts, and visual arts.
    -Emma Kerr, Natural Science Education Specialist, Berkshire Museum


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