Sports and Outdoors

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Get "bio-blitzed" at Brown County SP, June 5-7

A “bio-blitz”, an attempt to secure a detailed inventory of nature, will be jam-packed into one weekend at Brown County State Park, June 5-7.

The goal is to take stock of every living plant and animal species in the nearly 16,000 acres of Brown County State Park; you can help. A traditional bioblitz lasts 24 hours, but because the park is so large, the bioblitz is scheduled to run all weekend.

Brown County State Park needs volunteers to assist scientists and naturalists who will lead this inaugural event. Many volunteering will see areas of the park that are normally off limits to the public. The effort will yield a valuable record of common as well as rare, endangered and exotic (plant) species living in the park; it will help property staff to learn more about what resources are present and aid in better resource management decision-making.

"This will be a fun and important event," said Jim Eagleman, the park’s interpretive naturalist. "It will give us a snapshot of the biodiversity of Indiana's largest state park. We encourage anyone who enjoys nature and the outdoors to volunteer; learning from today’s scientists about their area of expertise will be a bonus!”, he said.

Those visitors concerned about the physical demands of volunteering may wish to attend a talk with a researcher. Public programs presented by the park interpretive staff will highlight species being discovered during the 3-day event; visitors can also learn what environmental demands are facing today’s botanists and biologists.

The park's Nature Center will serve as base camp, stocked with coffee, refreshments, field guides, computers, microscopes, and species’ tally sheets. All inventoried sites will be recorded with GPS coordinates.

Those interested in participating are asked to register online at Gate fee of $5 per in-state vehicle and $7 per out-of-state vehicle will be charged.

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