Volunteers—No Experience Needed, Just Curiosity–For Bioblitz ‘10

UNION COUNTY–If you ask Marc Grobman why he volunteers for Bio-Blitz every year, his answer is pretty simple.

“I love going into the woods and hunting for things,” said the Fanwood resident, who will be searching for mushrooms and fungi this year at Bio-Blitz 2010, Union County’s annual scientific adventure exploring the hidden worlds within the county parks system.


Each year, a park, or group of parks is picked for Bio-Blitz, with this year’s focus for the June 11 to 12 event in Clark and Rahway.  The 168-acre Clark reservoir, the largest fresh-water body of water in Union County, will be part of the habitat study, along with Milton Lake and Esposito Park.

The 24-hour survey of plants and wildlife kicks off at 5 o’clock on Friday evening, and runs through Saturday at 5 p.m. Last year teams worked hard to collect, sample and identify 652 species of wildlife, plant life and all other things living in the Summit and Springfield area, exploring Briant Park, the Houdaille Quarry & Hidden Valley Park.

Scientists, naturalists and volunteers are divided into teams who go out in search of fungi, plants, insect, large invertebrates, herps, birds, and mammals.  There are also other teams that conduct environmental monitoring.

Run in cooperation with Kean University’s Institute of Urban Ecosystem Studies, this is the county’s sixth Bio-Blitz.  In addition to the research teams, there are also numerous programs for adults and children who wish to stop by. Details, along with information on how to sign up for a team, can be found on the web at www.ucnj.org/parks/bioblitz.html or by calling 1-908-789-3209. (Volunteers for research teams must be 14 years of age or older)

Photo cap

A Black-crowned Night Heron

The flower on a Tulip tree

A Painted Turtle

BIOBLITZ IS COMING…to Clark and Rahway this year.  Every year, a group of Union County parks is the focus of an intense 24-hour examination to catalog everything living in the area.  Teams of scientists and volunteers comb the parks, looking at everything from tulips to turtles.  During a recent advance trip to Milton Lake Park in Rahway, some of the volunteers observed a Black-crowned Night Heron, a  Painted Turtle and Tulip tree, which had started to flower.  But that is just the beginning. Hundreds of species are cataloged every year.

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