Nature-Based Education Supported via Berkshire BioBlitz

6th Annual Berkshire BioBlitz

Families are invited to be citizen scientists in the Berkshires, June 19th & 20th 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. Participate in a mammal tracking workshop, Owl Prowl and Moth-Light demo. Great for budding naturalists!

In celebration of local biodiversity, Berkshire County’s annual BioBlitz will be held at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary on Holmes Road in Pittsfield starting at 12noon on Friday, June 19, and ending at 12noon on Saturday, June 20. This year’s free event is hosted by Mass Audubon’s Berkshire Sanctuaries at their Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary and co-sponsored by Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Dr. Augie’s Science Education Programs and the Berkshire 4-H. Canoe Meadows is home to a wide variety of plants and trees as well as turtles, ospreys, otters, and owls. Gentle, flat trails wind through the sanctuary’s scenic woods, fields, and wetlands, and along the edge of the Housatonic River.

The BioBlitz is an opportunity for biologists, naturalists and environmentalists to work in collaboration with the general public to gather in a given area and—in a 24-hour period— complete a formal survey of all living species while seeing first-hand the importance of a healthy, active ecosystem in their own community. Approximately 20 specialists will be on hand to explore, identify and educate, including local mushroom specialist John Wheeler of the Berkshire Mycological Society, Scott LaGreca, lichen specialist, Cornell University, and author of Insects of New England and New York, Tom Murray.

Although the biological survey is the “core” of the Berkshire BioBlitz, there will be a variety of family-friendly, interactive, nature-oriented nature walks and conversations taking place during the event. The public is invited to drop in anytime between the hours of 12noon and 10pm Friday, and 8am until 12noon on Saturday, to meet with our specialists. During the day, Berkshire Tracker Elia Del Molino will lead a mammal tracking workshop. After dark, two programs will be taking place: an “Owl Prowl” hike with naturalist Rene Wendell of the Trustees of Reservations’ Bartholomew’s Cobble, and a “Moth-Light” demonstration by Mark Mello of the Lloyd Center for the Environment.

At 12noon on Saturday, the event will end with a closing ceremony and an announcement of our final species tally. On August 15th, the results will be exhibited at the Berkshire County 4-H Fair that takes place on Utility Drive.

The first BioBlitz ever held took place in 1998 in Walden Woods, Concord, MA. Through the success of that event, many states and countries have joined the movement and held similar surveys. Berkshire County is proud to be a part of this endeavor that allows personal involvement while learning more about our own area’s biodiversity, distribution and abundance.

“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, founder of Dr. Augie’s Science Education Programs.


 

Directions to Canoe Meadows:
From the Mass. Turnpike (Rt I-90): Take exit 2 (Lee). Follow Rt 7 and Rt 20 north for 8 miles to Holmes Road. Turn right onto Holmes Road and proceed 2.7 miles to sanctuary entrance on the right.

From the north and Rt 9: Take Rt 7 and Rt 20 south from Pittsfield to Lenox. Turn left onto Holmes Road at the traffic light and proceed 2.7 miles to the sanctuary entrance on the right.

This event is free. For details visit draugies.wordpress.com/berkshire-bioblitz

– Submitted by Lisa Provencher [Photo credit: (cc) Kathy]

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