2012-04-19 / News

Sign up today for 2012 BioBlitz

BY TIM RIEL


The 2012 BioBlitz will be held in Jamestown in June, and the areas that will be researched will include Watson, Dutra, Neale and Hodgkiss farms, the Great Creek area, the Conanicut Island Sanctuary and the reservoirs. 
PHOTO BY ONNE VAN DER WAL The 2012 BioBlitz will be held in Jamestown in June, and the areas that will be researched will include Watson, Dutra, Neale and Hodgkiss farms, the Great Creek area, the Conanicut Island Sanctuary and the reservoirs. PHOTO BY ONNE VAN DER WAL The 13th annual BioBlitz – an event where scientists and volunteer naturalists scour a particular parcel of land for 24 straight hours – will come to Jamestown on June 8. According to Chris Powell, who is organizing the event along with Conservation Commission Chairwoman Carol Trocki, now is the time for volunteers, donors and sponsors to come forward and help make the experience a success.

The goal of the BioBlitz is to tally every plant, animal and fungus. The Rhode Island Natural History Survey, a nonprofit organization that chooses which parcel of land will be scrutinized, chose the area of Jamestown that includes the Watson, Dutra, Neale and Hodgkiss farms, the Great Creek area, the Conanicut Island Sanctuary and the reservoirs. More than 600 acres in all will be combed. Volunteers will be assigned to groups and an expert in each field – for example, fungi, fish, birds and beetles – will lead each team.

The event is designed to increase awareness of the variety of life that surrounds Rhode Islanders on even the most mundane-looking land, and of the value of these species to the quality of residents’ lives.

“It’ll be hard work, but it’ll be a lot of fun,” said Powell. “It’s really educational. People who participate can learn a lot about science and nature.”

In order to pay for the event, organizers need to raise about $8,000. They hope to do so by fundraiser, soliciting sponsors and registration fees. Interested sponsors can donate any amount of money, but those who donate at least $200 will get their logo on the official 2012 BioBlitz T-shirts.

Volunteers, who are needed to count the species and record them, will be charged $25. The registration cost will include a buffet from Chopmist Charlie’s Chuckwagon and a continental breakfast. It will also help pay for tents for research and sleep, and portable toilets.

An orientation for volunteers will be held at the Environmental Education Center at Roger Williams Park Zoo on Thursday, May 3, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Because there will be a pizza dinner at the orientation, preregistration is required to get an approximate number of attendees. To register, contact Kira Stillwell at programa dmin@rinhs.org or 874-5800.

“People who plan on participating in the BioBlitz don’t have to go to the orientation, but it is recommended,” said Powell.

To make a donation, send a check payable to the Rhode Island Natural History Survey to Chris Powell, 38 Mount Hope Ave., Jamestown, RI 02835. Contributions are tax deductible. To be a sponsor of the BioBlitz or for more information, call Powell at 423-1972.

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