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Public invited to count species at Chadron State Park bioblitz

CHADRON, Neb. – The public is invited to examine the natural diversity of the Pine Ridge during the fourth annual Chadron State Park Bioblitz on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7.

A bioblitz challenges attendees to identify as many plants and animal species as possible within a designated area and timeframe. During this bioblitz, members of the public will team up with local natural resources experts to explore and learn about the biodiversity and habitat at Chadron State Park.

“This is a great way for folks of all ages and backgrounds to become engaged in nature and learn about the many species in this region,” said Amanda Filipi, an outdoor education specialist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and event organizer.

The event will kick off with a free pizza dinner at the park’s community building at 6 p.m. Friday. Scheduled activities and sessions will run from 6:30 p.m. that night through noon the next day at locations throughout the park. Registration is required to attend the dinner.

The sessions will include surveys for a wide variety of organisms including mammals, birds, plants, insects, mosses, lichens and fungi. Attendees also will learn about the region’s bighorn sheep and bats.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is presenting the bioblitz in collaboration with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and Chadron State College. The Nebraska Environmental Trust and Nebraska Wildlife Conservation Fund are providing financial support.

The event is open to the public but a Nebraska Park Entry Permit is required for vehicles. People may attend as much of the event as they wish.

Registration will be at the Group Event Facility, which will serve as a central location for the entire event. Participants wishing to spend the night may rent a cabin or campsite.
To RSVP for the dinner and more information, contact Filipi at 308-436-3777 or amanda.filipi@nebraska.gov.

The schedule:

Friday, Sept. 6 — 5 p.m. Small mammal survey set-up; 6 p.m. Introduction and welcome dinner; 6:30 p.m. Bighorn sheep (Hayden Wolfe, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission); 7:30 p.m. Bats (Erin Considine, U.S. Forest Service)

Saturday, Sept. 7 – 7 a.m. Bird banding (Bird Conservancy of the Rockies); 8 a.m. Small mammals-camera trapping (Shelley Steffl, NGPC, and Teresa Frink, Chadron State College); 9 a.m. Mosses, lichens and fungi (Steve Rolfsmeier, CSC, and Matt Brust, CSC); 10 a.m. Fishing (CSC Wildlife Club); 10 a.m. Plant hike (Rolfsmeier); 11 a.m. Insects (Brust)

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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