WLC’s BioBlitz will document species at Thorn Preserve

Finding dragonflies at BioBlitz 2017. (Courtesy of WLC)

The Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC) holds its fourth annual BioBlitz on Friday, September 21, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, September 22, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., as naturalists lead expeditions on the Thorn Preserve in eastern Woodstock, counting the species found on the 60-acre property. Members of the public are invited to participate in any number of the roughly one-hour walks, scheduled throughout the two days, each relating to different categories of plants and animals.

Some participants will be trained as Citizen Scientists to help photograph or collect written information in the field on species, habitat, species interactions, etc., or enter information into iNaturalist.org. Trainings for Citizen Scientists will be held on Thursday, September 13, at 6 p.m. and Saturday, September 15, at 10 a.m. See the BioBlitz website, https://thornpreservebioblitz.com for details.

The Thorn Preserve, a former farm, includes meadow, streambank, woods, swamp, and a pond, hosting a wide variety of species. “You can see the interrelationship between different species and their habitat,” said Georgia Asher, WLC board member and chair of the BioBlitz Committee. In the past three years, over 300 species have been identified on the property.


Artists invited

New this year is the setup of trail cams to capture images of nocturnal mammal activity. Mammal expert Dan Bogan of Siena College will present the camera findings at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, September 21. At 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, participants will help with a water quality assessment of the Sawkill Creek. “They will look under rocks and use nets to catch whatever floats out from under rocks, usually insect larvae,” said Asher. Identification of species will help determine if there is enough diversity to indicate high water quality.  

Other highlights include a presentation by the Thorn Preserve beekeeper at 4 p.m. on Friday, an animal tracking session Saturday at 12:30 p.m., and a bird-seeking expedition at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Specific walks focus on fish, mosses, trees, dragonflies, butterflies, invasive plants, reptiles, and other categories. 

If you’re still around at 6 p.m. on Friday, you can stay to eat and enjoy a bonfire. Afterwards, a moth expert will shine lights on a screen, attracting moths to identify and photograph. Then it’s time to sit still and listen for owl calls and other sounds.

“It’s fun event, with a picnic atmosphere,” said Asher. “And it’s good for families. There will be special programs for children.” If either day has to be cancelled due to heavy rain, the program will be switched to Sunday. 

Artists are invited to participate in creating works of art inspired by the BioBlitz, biodiversity, nature, or the Thorn Preserve itself. A special exhibition of the works will be scheduled at the Woodstock School of Art in the fall. For more information contact Ellie Reese at ellier.wlc@gmail.com.

Thorn Preserve is located at 55 John Joy Road, Woodstock. WLC will provide water and snacks. Please bring your own bag lunch and water bottle. Wear good walking shoes, as well as tick and sun protection. Bring binoculars, cameras and your smart phone. For more information and a complete schedule, see https://thornpreservebioblitz.com. ]

BioBlitz Schedule


9 a.m. – Soils: Christian Malsatzki, Cornell Cooperative Extension 

10 a.m. – Electrofishing: Ryan Coulter, Aquatic Biologist, NYS DEC

11:30 a.m. – Butterflies & Caterpillars: Steve Chorvas, Naturalist

12 p.m. – Lunch Break

1 p.m. – Dragonflies & Damselflies: Joe Bridges, Field Biologist

2:30 p.m. – Herbaceous Plants: Chris Graham, Hudsonia

3:30 p.m. – Mammals: Dan Bogan, Siena College

4 p.m. – Bees: Chris Layman, Beekeeper

6 p.m. – Dinner Break 

7:30 p.m. – Moths: Jason Michael Crockwell, Naturalist

8 p.m. – Owl Calls: Peter Koch, Ecologist

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Kids Programs with Katie Palm


8 a.m. – Birds: Steve Chorvas, Naturalist

9 a.m. – Invasive Plants: Dan Snider & John Thompson, CRISP

9:30 a.m. – Trees: Vern Rist, Healthy Trees

11 a.m. – Mosses, Liverworts & Lichens: Ralph Ibe, SUNY New Paltz

12 p.m. – Lunch Break

12 p.m. – Schoharie River Center Presentation

12:30 p.m. – Tracking Animals: Julie Seyfert Lillis, Alpine Endeavors

1:30 p.m. – Reptiles & amphibians: Brittany Dell, Wildlife Technician

3 p.m. – Life in the Stream: Peter Koch, Ecologist

3 p.m. – WAVE (Water Quality Assessment): Scott Hadam, Schoharie River Center

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Kids Programs with Del Orloske