It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as heads of science-based federal agencies are replaced by petrochemical industry insiders with no scientific background, but there is something that a single private individual can do to help stem the tide of misinformation: Volunteer to do a bit of citizen science now and then. Regular data collection is an essential weapon in the long-term battle against willful ignorance and uninformed decisionmaking.
It’s time once again for the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development and the Woodstock Land Conservancy to compile hard data for the Catskills, so lace up your mud boots and come on out to BioBlitz 2019.
From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 7 and again from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, citizen scientists of all ages (no special training or experience necessary) will be teamed with scientists and expert naturalists to study the wildlife, plants and biodiversity at the Catskill Center’s Thorn Preserve, a beautiful 60-acre locale containing a stream, pond, wetlands, forest and open meadow. This fifth annual event is free and open to everyone.
Volunteers are asked to bring their smartphones and put them to use cataloguing and photographing the species of the Thorn Preserve. You’ll learn about life in the stream, animal tracks, birds, trees, mushrooms, wildflowers, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies, bees and, on Friday night, moths, frogs, bats and owls. This is a great learning opportunity for individuals and families and a fun day out in the field (kids are welcome, dogs are not). A “base camp” tent will offer a place to gather, relax, peruse guidebooks, collaborate, discuss finds and compile data.
Biodiversity is a powerful indicator of environmental quality. An ecosystem under any kind of stress, such as pollution or habitat fragmentation, will show a drop in biodiversity. Data collected at the BioBlitz is used to study the changes that occur at the Thorn Preserve over time and to make thoughtful management decisions to preserve the biodiversity of the habitat.
To view the schedule and to register, visit https://thornpreservebioblitz.com or e-mail Georgia Asher at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ellie Reese at email@example.com. The Thorn Preserve is located at 55 John Joy Road in Woodstock.