Biodiversity in Your Neighborhood
In the past twenty years, childhood in the United States has moved indoors. The average American child spends about thirty minutes of their day in unstructured, outdoor play, and more than seven hours in front of a screen (see this report for more information). Most people intuitively understand the connection between time spent in nature and positive well-being. Fresh air and exercise keep our bodies in shape and our minds focused. But did you know that time spent outdoors in childhood also is correlated with better distance vision? If you and your child pair your time spent outdoors with species identification, this may sharpen your visual skills even further as you try to spot birds, plants, insects, and mammals which may be small, or may dart away at the sight of you. This kind of activity also teaches patience and focus.
A Bioblitz is the perfect event to learn and teach species identification skills with your community. On Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 9am-3pm, Elms College is throwing a Bioblitz at Chicopee Memorial State Park. Teachers, students, parents and friends of all ages are invited to team up with scientists to identify as many of the park’s living creatures as possible in a single day. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet people working in scientific fields and ask them questions about science in general or about their careers specifically. Participation can get community members interested in the biodiversity of their local lands, and as a result make them more invested in conservation efforts.
Plant identification can give you the skills the discern the difference between a tasty, edible plant and one which may be poisonous when ingested. Documenting of local species can give scientists clues for further research. By teaming up together in a large group, volunteers and scientists are more likely to find uncommon species and work for their protection and management. You never know what you’re going to find until you look! Please register online at the Elms College website. Rain or shine. Meet at the Pavilion, 570 Burnett Road, (Chicopee, MA. FREE)