BioBlitz is a 24-hour survey in which the public helps scientists find all the plants and animals at a specific location. Part contest, part festival, part educational event and part scientific endeavor, Minnesota BioBlitz brings together participants from across the state in a race against time!
Each year, BioBlitz attracts families, nature lovers, and scientists from around the state who use sonar detectors, bug lights, live traps and laptops to count and chronicle an area's flora and fauna. BioBlitz 2013 took place at Coldwater Spring, which the National Park Service is restoring to an oak savanna prairie natural space. This BioBlitz will provide a crucial baseline of information about the varieties of fish, fungi, insects, birds, and plants living within the 92 acres of Coldwater and surrounding parkland and riverfront. Since late 2011, the National Park Service demolished a dozen abandoned bureau of Mines buildings and has been restoring the property to a natural green space.
All events are free of charge and open to the public. All participants need to check-in at the main building. Scientists and the public can register at BioBlitz at Coldwater Spring. Learn more at the Mississippi River Fund website.
Some activities will have limited space. Extra activities may be added during the day of the event. Please check the participant information below for more tips about participating in the BioBlitz.
Here's what happened in 2013:
5 p.m. - dusk Scientists set up and begin surveying
5 p.m. - dusk Ranger on site with David Wiggins
8 p.m. Evening animal survey – frogs and herps with Byron Karns and Jennifer Menken
9:00 p.m. Owl and nocturnal bird walk with Keith Barker
9:30 p.m. Insect walk with Eric Lind and Cole Harmon
9 p.m. - 11 p.m. Evening insect collecting with Cole Harmon
6 a.m. - 8 a.m. Birding hike with Sharon Stiteler and Ted Gostomski
6 a.m. - 8 a.m. Bird mist netting with Keith Barker
8 a.m. Mammal survey—small mammals and herps with Jennifer Menken
9 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Pop-up exhibit of Coldwater artifacts and mementos with Kate Havelin
9 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Ranger on site with Gordon Dietzman
9 a.m. Fungi survey with Anna Gerenday
10 a.m. Fish survey with Konrad Schmidt and Jenny Kruchenberg
10 a.m. Plant survey with Mike Lynch
11 a.m. Dragonfly walk with Cole Harmon
11 a.m. Water walk
Noon - 1 p.m. Lunch break for scientists
1 p.m. Walk with a Ranger with Gordon Dietzman
2 p.m. Dragonfly and damselfly survey with Dianne Rowse
4 p.m. - 5 p.m. Species identification and number countdown
Coldwater has less than a mile of gravel trail while the surrounding property has a mix of paved and dirt trails. Be prepared for uneven terrain. Participants should bring their own sunscreen, insect repellent, drinking water and food. This is an all-weather event, so dress accordingly. We suggest you wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable for walking in tall grass. If you plan to participate in aquatic activities, be certain to wear clothing and footwear that can get wet. For safety reasons, we cannot allow bare feet. Also, please be prepared for both wood ticks and mosquitoes—they are both plentiful this year!
from Minnesota BioBlitz Coordinator Jennifer Menken
Q. What is the Minnesota BioBlitz?
A. BioBlitz is an intensive 24-hour survey to find all the plants and animals at a specific location and a 24-hour survey in which the public helps scientists find different plants and animals. Designed as part contest, part festival, part educational event, part scientific endeavor, Minnesota BioBlitz brings together scientists from across the state in a race against time.
Q. What's the goal of Minnesota BioBlitz?
A. The goal is to count as many species of plants and animals in a particular area within a 24-hour time frame. But BioBlitz is also designed to increase the public's awareness of the variety of life in their immediate neighborhood.
Q. What can a participant expect to see?
A. We usually hear the word "biodiversity" in regard to rainforests with their vast number of species. Yet the diversity of life in our own backyards is phenomenal. We take for granted clean water, fertile soil, and air to breathe. Yet these are all the result of working ecosystems filled with species that perform these tasks. While species range greatly depending on the location, expect to see everything from lake trout to red fox at this year's site.
Q. What happens to the data collected at Minnesota BioBlitz?
A. BioBlitz generates a list of species found at a chosen location, a first step in successful natural resource management. Minnesota BioBlitz has the potential to identify species that should be monitored or controlled. It may identify unique aspects of the area that might otherwise not have been known. This information along with recommendations from the scientists is supplied to the host site.