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Help count species at Chadron State Park bioblitz

The public is invited to explore the natural diversity of the Pine Ridge and help catalog the species found there during the Chadron State Park Bioblitz on Sept. 9-10.

The free, family-friendly event will join members of the public with natural resources experts to explore and learn about the biodiversity and habitat at the park. Then, participants will work to identify as many plants and animals as possible during the event.

“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.

Educational sessions over the two-day event will include moth backlighting, as well as how to conduct surveys for mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, plants and insects.

One Friday afternoon set-up session is planned, but the event officially gets underway with a free pizza dinner, orientation and team trivia game at the park’s community building that evening. Registration is required to attend the dinner; RSVP through the event listing at calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov, the “Chadron State Park Bioblitz” event page on Facebook, or by contacting Filipi at 308-436-3777 or amanda.filipi@nebraska.gov.

Participants should sign in at the Group Event Facility, which will serve as the bioblitz headquarters.

People may attend as much of the event as they want. Those wishing to spend the night may rent a cabin or campsite via OutdoorNebraska.gov. Participants also can get their Nebraska Park Entry vehicle permit at the same web address.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is presenting the bioblitz in collaboration with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Chadron State College and the Community Scientists of Nebraska Network. The Nebraska Environmental Trust is providing financial support.

The schedule:

Friday, Sept. 9 — 4:30 p.m. Small mammal survey set-up (Shelley Steffl, Game and Parks, and Teresa Frink, Chadron State College); 6 p.m. Dinner; 6:30 p.m. Orientation (Alie Mayes, Game and Parks); 7 p.m. Nature trivia with teams of five or less; 8:30 p.m. Moth backlighting (Olivia DaRugna, Game and Parks)

Saturday, Sept. 10 – 7 a.m. Bird banding (Bird Conservancy of the Rockies); 8 a.m. Small mammals (Steffl and Frink); 9 a.m. Plants (Jonathan Spiess, Chadron State College); 10 a.m. Insects (Mathew Brust, Chadron State College); 11 a.m. Reptiles and amphibians (Colleen Rothe-Groleau, Game and Parks)

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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