MINI BIOBLITZ A FUN, EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS
May 5, 2015
On Friday, May 1, 2015 the Dan River Basin Association hosted a Mini BioBlitz at Angler's Park in Danville, VA. With special thanks to Danville Parks and Recreation for allowing us to use the Park and trails and Galileo High School teacher Jason Gibson for lending his expertise and the helping hands of his students, the blitz was a great success.
A BioBlitz, typically a 24-hour event, is an attempt by volunteers and naturalists of all experience levels to tally as many species of organisms as they can in a particular area. BioBlitz events provide naturalists and scientists with a "snapshot" of what
species occur in the area, and it is a great tool for educating the public about the diverse array of species in an area, raising awareness about the importance of local ecosystems, even our own backyards, as habitats for countless critters.
"Many people might not think of this area as especially interesting ecologically. Usually when we think of biodiversity, we imagine these exotic, exciting and far-away places, says Amy Farinelli, Program Coordinator for DRBA. "The truth is, however, Virginia is one of the most biologically diverse states in the country particularly for herpetology, or the study of amphibians and reptiles."
The BioBlitz focused on areas surrounding the wetland on site, as well as nearby upland areas such as Witchback and Stalam Trails. And participants certainly did find some critters! Some of the various amphibians and reptiles found include: Eastern American Toad tadpoles, Eastern Cricket Frogs, Green Frogs, an American Bullfrog, Gray Tree Frog, Upland Chorus Frog, a Northern Watersnake, Northern Dusky Salamanders, Southern Two-lined Salamanders, and a Southeastern Five-lined skink. In addition, there were also over 10 bird species seen or heard.
DRBA hopes to use this information in the future to inspire and educate young minds—the information collected will be used as a foundation for future school field trips visiting the wetland. “More and more children are spending less time outdoors and more time indoors watching an electronic screen than ever before, and with child obesity on the rise in our nation, now is the time for us to expose our children to what our childhoods were like playing outdoors and enjoying nature. It’s time to slow down our busy lifestyles which contribute to anxiety and depression and reconnect with our natural settings,” says Krista Hodges, Education Outreach Manager for DRBA. “Our children need to experience nature to be able to appreciate it and protect the environment; this workshop is a great introduction to experiencing nature that the family can come out and enjoy.”
Thank you to everyone who came out and participated in this fun and educational event!