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Bioblitz returning to Chadron State Park

Bioblitz presentation
Attendees of last year’s Chadron State Park bioblitz listen to Commission staff members Amy Bleisch and Maria Baglieri tell about using telemetry to monitor northwestern Nebraska wildlife. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

CHADRON — The public is invited to join Chadron State Park’s second annual Bioblitz on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29-30. The park’s group event facility will serve as headquarters for the more than dozen surveys and activities, which will take place at locations throughout the park.

The free event will allow participants young, old and in-between 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. By running programs for a continuous 24-hour period, bioblitz participants hope to get an accurate snapshot of the wildlife present in the area at that time of year. At Chadron State Park, members of the public and Chadron State College students will team up with natural resources experts from the region.

Amber Schiltz, Nebraska wildlife education coordinator for the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, is hoping to build on the success of the park’s first bioblitz last year that attracted more than 100 people.

“It was a great chance for children and families to spend some time outside while learning more about the plants and animals in the area,” Schiltz said.

The Bioblitz will run from 11 a.m. Friday to 11 a.m. Saturday, with the second day’s activities beginning at 7 a.m. In addition to the many plant and animal surveys, there will be information sessions about bighorn sheep, cougars and Nebraska’s endangered species.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to participate in as little or as much of the event as they like. Visitors seeking information will find a map of activities and an updated tally of species at the group event facility. Vehicles are required to have a Nebraska Park Entry Permit, but the event is otherwise open to the public free of charge. Participants are encouraged to bring a dish for the potluck dinner at 6 p.m. Friday.

The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, in collaboration with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Chadron State College, is hosting the Bioblitz. The Nebraska Environmental Trust is providing funding.

For additional information, contact Schiltz at amber.schiltz@birdconservancy.org or 402-310-6137.

Friday’s Schedule: Fish survey, 11 a.m.-noon; Macro invertebrate survey, noon-1 p.m.; Grass and forb survey, 1-2 p.m.; Small mammal survey set up, 2-3 p.m.; Large mammal survey set-up, 3-4 p.m.; Bighorn sheep and cougar session, 5-6 p.m.; Pot luck dinner, 6-7 p.m.; Nebraska endangered species session, 7-7:45 p.m.; Nocturnal insect survey, 8-9 p.m.; Owl survey, 9 p.m.

Saturday’s Schedule: Bird survey, 7-11 a.m.; Mammal survey, 8-9 a.m.; Insect survey, 9-10 a.m.; Wildflower walk, 10-11 a.m.

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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