Citizen Scientists Invited to 2nd Annual BioBlitz in Berkshire County

2nd  Annual BioBlitz in Berkshire County: Scientists and Neighbors Working Together to Survey Local Biodiversity

“This is a great opportunity for people from all walks of life to get back to nature and to learn about the amazing lives of plants and animals in their own backyards.” said Lisa Provencher, entomology curator assistant at the NY State Museum, and founder of Dr. Augie’s Science Education Programs. “It’s a powerful tool we can use to get people away from their television sets and computer monitors, and spend time outside—providing an antidote to what some educators have dubbed ‘nature-deficit disorder’.” Further, LaGreca added, “It provides valuable information about Mt. Greylock’s flora and fauna that can be used by DCR staff to better manage the Mt. Greylock Reservation’s resources.” (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

In celebration of local biodiversity, Berkshire Museum is holding Berkshire County’s second annual BioBlitz at Mt. Greylock Reservation in Lanesborough, MA on Friday, June 10 to noon on Saturday, June 11. It is co-sponsored by, Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Dr. Augie’s Science Education Programs, MCLA STEM Pipeline and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation (DCR) and Recreation. The weekend event will allow scientists and local residents to document the extensive variety of life in their immediate area and see first-hand the diversity and importance of the clean and active ecosystems in their own community.

The BioBlitz is an opportunity for biologists, naturalists, and environmentalists to gather in a given area and in a 24-hour period complete a formal survey of all living species. Specialists such as Charley Eiseman (co-author of Field Guide to Invertebrate Tracks and Signs), Cornell’s botanist Scott LaGreca (lichens), Berkshire Wild Mushrooms’ John Wheeler (fungi) and NY State Museum’s Lisa Provencher (insects) will be on-hand to explore, identify and educate. The public is welcome to attend to watch the scientists work, and even participate in sorting specimens.

The biological survey is the “core” of the Berkshire BioBlitz, with a variety of family-friendly, interactive, nature-oriented programs taking place during the 24 hour event. Family programs will start Friday night (6/10) when there will be a “Meet the Scientists Session” at Bascom Lodge. As darkness falls, folks will be invited to participate in the “BioBlitz Drum and Campfire Jam” and to make their own take-home natural lanterns. Later, there will be a “Moth-Light” demonstration, an “Owl Prowl” hike and firefly count.

Saturday morning will start early with a 7:30 a.m. bird walk led by the Hoffman Bird Club followed by a medicinal plant walk offered by the DCR staff. There will also be a talk and walk about the potentially invasive Asian Long-Horned Beetle, led by Jane Winn of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team. At noon, the event will end with announcement of the total species tally.

Directions to Mt. Greylock from downtown Pittsfield: continue north on US Rte. 7 to Lanesborough for 6.6 miles. At the brown Mount Greylock sign, turn right onto North Main Street. Follow the brown lead-in signs 1.5 miles from Rte. 7 to the Visitor Center and park entrance. Driving distance from Visitor Center to summit is 8 miles.

All events are free and held at the summit of Mt. Greylock, with the exception of the Firefly count which will take place at 9 p.m. at the visitor center at the base of the mountain. For a full schedule, pick up a BioBlitz Activities Guide from the Berkshire Museum, or visit www.berkshirebioblitz.org.

(Submitted by the Berkshire Museum)

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