Second Annual BioBlitz Scheduled at FVCC

FVCC’s second annual BioBlitz takes place April 23 and is free and open to the public

By Beacon Staff

The Flathead Valley Community College biology and natural resources departments invite the community to participate in FVCC’s second annual BioBlitz April 23. Free and open to people of all ages, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the FVCC campus.

In an effort to survey the biological diversity of the college campus, FVCC biology and natural resources faculty and students will partner with community members to identify as many plants, birds, amphibians, insects, fish, mammals, fungi and other species as possible in a given time period. The college campus consists of more than 200 acres, including land adjacent to the Stillwater River.

“This event gives us snapshot of the biological diversity that exists around us,” said FVCC Associate Professor of Biology Ruth Wrightsman. “The area along the river provides excellent habitat for wildlife, and we’re excited to see how many species we can find during this survey.”

BioBlitz will be a mix of scientific discovery, celebration and fun as participants observe and record the biological diversity on the college campus. Participants will be supplied with equipment needed for observations, including binoculars, field guides and field checklists. The BioBlitz tent will provide a work area for specimen identification using dissecting and compound microscopes.

Students from FVCC’s Elementary Education program have developed activities for children, including making leaf prints, bird feeders, bird houses and kites.

The first BioBlitz was held in Kenilworth Park in Washington, D.C. in 1996. Since then, BioBlitz surveys have been held throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia with sponsors ranging from the National Park Service, National Geographic Society and The Nature Conservancy. The FVCC BioBlitz is funded by grants from the U.S. Forest Service and the FVCC Foundation.

The BioBlitz schedule of events includes:

9 a.m.:  Welcome and kick-off

9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.:  Guided hikes on the FVCC  campus, approximately 45 minutes to one-hour long, focused on bird watching, plant identification, fungi identification, insect collection and aquatic invertebrate collection; DNA barcoding demonstrations.

1:30 – 2 p.m.: Wrap-up and summary

Event parking will take place between the Early Childhood Center and the Arts & Technology buildings on campus. Upon arrival, participants should report to the BioBlitz tent. Participants can arrive and depart at any time during the event. Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather, wear comfortable shoes and supply their own snacks and water.

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