By Courtney Barley

Want to spend a day as a wildlife biologist? Seney National Wildlife Refuge is hosting a BioBlitz on Saturday, April 20 and the public—especially those interested in photography and citizen science—is invited to participate. Anyone who is interested in participating in this project is asked to meet at the Temporary Visitors Center located at 1986 River Road in Germfask by 9 a.m. An orientation will be provided for participants before staff take groups out onto the refuge. The event continues until 3 p.m., when participants will meet back at the Temporary Visitors Center to share their findings.

A BioBlitz event is a citizen-science biological survey done in a designated area within a set time frame. Volunteers observe and record as many living (or once living) species as possible. Staff will be available to assist with the identification of species. These events are a great way for community members to learn more about local biodiversity and for families to explore the outdoors together.

Data collected from the BioBlitz will be added to current knowledge of species occurrence on the refuge, which can be helpful with conservation efforts. These events are critical to documenting large quantities and sometimes rare species.

Participants will record sightings and identify organisms using the iNaturalist app. The free app uses crowdsourcing to help users identify the species that they observe. The app is available for iPhone and Android and can be found in your phone’s app store. Because the download requires Internet access, it should be downloaded before heading out to the Refuge. Those who need help downloading the app and setting up an account should come to the center between 8 – 9a.m. so that staff can assist.

Attendees should dress for the weather and pack a lunch if they plan on participating the entire day. Staff and participants will meet at the show pool shelters at noon for lunch. Those who can only attend for part of the day can leave or join at that time as well.