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Bioblitz Invites ‘Citizen Scientists’ to Oliver Reservoir

Members of the public are invited to become citizen scientists during the Bioblitz, a 24-hour program at Oliver Reservoir west of Kimball on Friday and Saturday, June 17-18.

Led by the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, the free family event will allow participants to discover and celebrate western Nebraska wildlife. A bioblitz is an event where members of the public become “citizen scientists” and work with biologists to survey a particular area, recording all plants and animals they can find. The goal of a bioblitz is to have sessions running for a continuous 24-hour period in order to get a complete snapshot of the wildlife present in the area at that time of year.

The Bioblitz will run from 2p.m. Friday to 2 p.m. Saturday. Individuals and groups are encouraged to participate in as little or as much of the event as they like. Sessions will include reptile surveys, birdwatching, a prairie plant hike, frog call survey, nocturnal insect black lighting, small mammal trapping, bee surveys, tree identification and more. Additional activities include a potluck dinner with live music and an astronomy program, both on Friday. There will also be various activities throughout the event for younger scientists. Participants and families are encouraged to camp at the reservoir Friday evening.

Partners include Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, South Platte Natural Resources District and the Riverside Discovery Center.

Preregistration is requested to give organizers an accurate head count for session materials and meals. People who register by June 13 will receive a free T-shirt. Sizes and quantities are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Online registration is available at http://goo.gl/forms/19kfpnzATIiT04fi2. Registration will also be available at the event. More information can be found at the event page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/995490060535261/.

For a session schedule, to receive additional information or any questions, contact Alie Mayes, Nebraska education coordinator for the Conservancy, at alexandra.mayes@birdconservancy.org.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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