What is a Bio Blitz?
By Christopher Ricker
This year marked the third annual Staten Island Bio Blitz at Blue Heron Park, which is located on the south shore of Staten Island. Although this park is not within central Staten Island’s Greenbelt, it is NYC parkland. The Greenbelt environmental educators were pleased to be involved. The event began on Friday, August 16 and lasted for 24 hours.
So…what is a Bio Blitz you might ask?
Well, a Bio Blitz is a preselected period of time (generally 24 hours) where scientists, naturalists, academics, and the public come together to survey an area in order to record data about the biodiversity present in a particular area.
During this time taxonomy teams work together to identify as many organisms as possible—from plants, to invertebrates, to birds, reptiles, grasses, and the list goes on and on.
The information in turn gives scientists, researchers, park managers and even policy makers a bird’s-eye snapshot of the biotic community within the area. In this case it is Blue Heron Park.
The Staten Island Bio Blitz is a yearly event that includes such partnering organizations and agencies as the Staten Island Zoo, The Nature Conservancy, NYC Parks, Friends of Blue Heron Park, Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, the College of Staten Island, and the Greenbelt Conservancy.
This year, in particular, offered a wide array of public programs. Members of the public not only assisted with the cataloging of organisms during the Bio-Blitz, but had an opportunity to work hand-in hand with local and regional naturalists.
A big part of the Bio-Blitz’s planning meetings included the discussion of how to bring our organizations shared core values of education, conservation, inclusion, and accessibility of outdoor spaces to the forefront of the bio blitz event.
In the end it was a collaborative effort for all involved that allowed us to provide 9 public interpretive hikes, which were led by some of Staten Island’s most experienced naturalists.
A highlight of the event was having Dr. Mike Treglia of the Nature Conservancy appear on a CBSN interview. Click here to view.