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Bioblitz coming to Chadron State Park

CHADRON, Neb. – The public is invited to examine the natural diversity of the Pine Ridge during the third annual Chadron State Park Bioblitz on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15.

A bioblitz engages 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. 

The event, which is being led by the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, 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 7 p.m. that night through noon the next day at locations throughout the park. Registration is required to attend the dinner and the first 20 participants to register will receive a free bioblitz T-shirt.

“If you’re looking for a fun, free event to get you and your family outside this summer, this is a great opportunity,” said Amber Schiltz, Nebraska’s wildlife education coordinator for the Conservancy. “Kids and adults alike will love the chance to get out and explore while learning from experts about our amazing natural diversity. We’re excited to continue this event at the Chadron State Park.”

The sessions will include surveys for a wide variety of organisms including mammals, plants, insects and owls. Experts also will present information about bighorn sheep and mountain lions. 

The Conservancy produces the bioblitz in collaboration with Chadron State College and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The Nebraska Environmental Trust and Nebraska Wildlife Conservation Fund provide 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 Building, which will serve as a central location for the entire event. 

Camping and cabins are available at the park. Contact Schiltz at amber.schiltz@birdconservancy.org or 402-310-6137 for more information.

The schedule:

Friday, Sept. 14 — Bioblitz Introduction and Dinner, 6 p.m.; Mountain Lion and Bighorn Sheep Session, 7 p.m.; Evening Hike, 8 p.m.; Owl Survey, 9 p.m.; Night Sky Program 9 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 15 – Bird Survey, 7 a.m.; Mammal Survey, 8 a.m.; Fishing Survey, 9 a.m.; Aquatic Insects Survey, 9 a.m.; Tree and Shrub Survey, 10 a.m.; Fungi and Lichen Survey, 10 a.m.; Wildflower and Grass Survey, 11 a.m.; Insect Survey, 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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