The game of life: E.O. Wilson-inspired BioBlitz in Woodstock

The 60-acre Thorn Preserve in Woodstock will host an E.O. Wilson-inspired BioBlitz this Friday and Saturday, pairing scientists with volunteer citizen scientists as they attempt to identify and document the site's diverse array of flora and fauna. Call (845) 679-9629 or email gkasher@gmail.com to volunteer. (Dion Ogust | Almanac Weekly)

The 60-acre Thorn Preserve in Woodstock will host an E.O. Wilson-inspired BioBlitz this Friday and Saturday, pairing scientists with volunteer citizen scientists as they attempt to identify and document the site’s diverse array of flora and fauna. Call (845) 679-9629 or email gkasher@gmail.com to volunteer. (Dion Ogust | Almanac Weekly)

“There is no better high than discovery.”
– E.O. Wilson

Citizen science comes to Woodstock this weekend with the second annual BioBlitz at the Thorn Preserve on John Joy Road. The two-day biodiversity extravaganza will have scientists pairing up with students and residents to study the wildlife and plants at the Preserve. The 60-acre protected property boasts “the most painted views of Overlook Mountain.”

Advertisement

Inspired by E.O. Wilson, the Harvard biologist and champion of biodiversity preservation, the purpose of the BioBlitz is to gather information that will help to understand the biological scope of what’s going on at Thorn Preserve, and how to best manage the property. The earth needs a diverse range of biological organisms to sustain all of life on the planet – to turn and fertilize the soil, to purify the water, to give us the air we breathe and to pollinate our crops. To that end, studying collected data will inform how best to protect the sweeping bird and butterfly grassland habitat, riparian forest and ponds.

No experience is necessary to be a citizen scientist. You accompany the experts into the field to help take notes and photos. If you have a smart phone and know how to take a photo with GPS coordinates, all the better. On Friday and Saturday, you can learn about life in the stream, identify mammal signs and tracks, birds, trees, herbaceous plants, reptiles and amphibians, mushrooms and other fungi, butterflies, invasive plants – and on Friday night after dark, you might see bats, moths, owls and frogs. There will also be presentations on soil types and beekeeping, as well as a discussion of the interrelationships between soil, habitats, organisms and communities of life.

Sponsored by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development and Woodstock Land Conservancy, BioBlitz 2016 is a fun learning opportunity for the whole family.  There will be a “Base Camp” tent for people to gather and relax, eat, peruse guide books, get refreshments and snacks, discuss finds and compile data. Mowed walking paths are easily accessible from John Joy Road. Scheduled talks on Friday include the topics of: birds with naturalist George Moxham; soils with Justin O’Dea from the Cornell Extension; mushrooms and other fungi with retired professor Bill Bakaitis (SUNY-Dutchess); invasive plants with Dan Snider of CRISP; butterflies with naturalist Steve Chorvas; reptiles and amphibians with Jason Tesauro of Hudsonia; herbaceous plants with Gretchen Stevens of Hudsonia and Bard; and bats with naturalist Mike Cooper; moths with naturalist Sam Adams; frog calls with Georgia Asher; and owl calls with ecologist Peter Koch. The presentations on Saturday include the topics of: mushrooms and other fungi with Bakaitis; trees and woody plants with plant pathologist Vern Rist; aquatic macroinvertebrates with Koch; tracking mammals with naturalist Julie Lillis; bees with beekeeper Chris Layman; and hemlock wooly adelgid survey training with Snider.

Bring your own lunch; water and snacks will be provided on both days. See the website for the exact times of each presentation. In case of rain, the BioBlitz will be held on June 17 and 18.

 

BioBlitz 2016 citizen science extravaganza, Friday, June 10, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, June 11, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., free and open to the community, Thorn Preserve, 55 John Joy Road, Woodstock; (845) 679-9629, gkasher@gmail.com, www.BioBlitz2016.com.