June 19, 2008

Squam Bioblitz 2008

A BioBlitz is a 24-hour inventory of all living organizms in a given area.

The first ever Squam BioBlitz was a collaborative effort of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Squam Lakes Association and Squam Lakes Conservation Society in cooperation with the Holderness Conservation Commission, the US Forest Service Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, UNH Cooperative Extension, Plymouth State University, NH Fish and Game Department, and Ecosystem Management Consultants. The event is supported by a grant from the Squam Environmental Preservation Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation - Lakes Region, with in-kind support from Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Walter’s Basin Restaurant, The Canoe Restaurant, Longhaul Farm, and D-Acres.

"The idea of a BioBlitz is to count everything that grows, flies, swims, wriggles, crawls, and creeps," said Iain MacLeod, Executive Director of the Squam Lakes Natural Science
Center and one of the event organizers. "We focus on number of species, not number of individuals, so we only have to count one of each thing during the twenty four hours."

The event started start June, 6 afternoon with six teams departing from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center at 3:00 p.m. and returning at 6:00 p.m. These teams counted every species of plant, fish, bird, dragonfly, moss, amphibian, reptile, mammal, etc. Most teams exploreed their site by foot, but other teams headed out on Squam Lake on pontoon boats or canoe. From 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., a naturalist will lead a family-oriented hike on the Science Center trails. Three more teams departed at 6:30 p.m., returning at 9:00 p.m. and another four teams left at 9:00 p.m. and returned at 11:30 p.m. The late evening teams also focused on identifying bats, moths and night birds, such as owls.

All teams returned to the Science Center to identify their finds, share collections, swap stories and report their findings to the official tallier. A tally board was updated throughout the day and visitors were invited to observe the scientists in action and follow the tally as it grows. The count stopped at 3:00 p.m. with a final tally and report from the scientists by 4:00 p.m.

"This event is a wonderful way to raise awareness about the incredible biodiversity of our New Hampshire woods and wetlands and share in the knowledge and expertise of some of our state’s leading ecological scientists," said Rick Van de Poll of Ecological Management Consultants and the event’s Coordinating Scientist.

More photos from the Squam Bioblitz 2008:


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