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Our National Parks Celebrate 100 Years with the BioBlitz Festival!

May 09, 2016 12:03PM ● By Finn McFarland
In honor of the National Park Service’s centennial this year, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (MBRNHP) in Woodstock will host its annual BioBlitz on May 21st . A festival for families, students, and aspiring scientists alike, the BioBlitz aims to bring together the community for a day of exploration in nature. Participants will search for and identify as many species of organisms as they can in the park to contribute to a growing collection of citizen-science data.

This year the event will coincide with a national Bioblitz event occurring at hundreds of parks across the country. While each park will collect and record observations in nature, observations made at MBRNHP will contribute to the Vermont Atlas of Life, a project aimed at identifying every living species in the state. With help from citizen-scientists, the project uses the observations recorded in the smartphone app iNaturalist to organize its data. This year’s BioBlitz will feature an orientation for the app so participants can use it as they make observations at the Park.

“This tool allows anyone to become a citizen-scientist by recording what species they find not only during the BioBlitz but even in their own backyard,” explains wildlife biologist Kent McFarland of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

Citizen-science is a collaborative effort between the community and expert scientists to collect data. It’s a great way to get involved in the scientific community and contribute to groundbreaking research across fields. Kent says, “Citizen-science opportunities offer a unique path for science learning and connecting with nature for people of all ages.”

The event, which begins at 8am and ends at 4pm, will feature several themed nature walks throughout the day, including a birding walk and a stream exploration. The biology-themed festival is open to the public and no experience is necessary.

All walks begin at the Forest Center at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock. Parking for this event is at the overflow parking lot of Billings Farm and Museum.

For a full list of activities, check the BioBlitz website or call (802) 457-3368 x222.

 

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