Sitka BioBlitz promises to be ‘biggest natural history event of the year’

The BioBlitz is coming to Sitka, and it promises to be the biggest natural history event of the year. On Aug. 17-19, Sitka residents, scientists, naturalists, photographers, kids and others will try to identify, record and celebrate every species of plant and critter within a seven-mile radius of Sitka.

What is a BioBlitz (also spelled bioblitz)? It’s an intense period of biological surveying, usually about 24 hours, in an attempt to identify and record all the living species within a designated area. While this is the first BioBlitz for Sitka, they have been held all over the world, including in Juneau and other parts of Alaska.

How can you participate? You can join natural history survey walks led by scientist experts, or you can participate in a BioBlitz learning activity regarding  forest bugs, stream bugs, plants, moss and lichens, fungi, intertidal critters, mammals, birds and bats, tracking, nature photography, scientific illustration, and more. There are activities for all ages, and kids are encouraged to participate.

The Sitka BioBlitz will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17, at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus, when naturalist Bob Armstrong will speak about “Connections in Nature.” The actual surveying and activities will start at noon on Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Rasmuson Center on the Sitka Fine Arts Camp campus (Sheldon Jackson campus). There will be a variety of activities around town, including a community barbecue at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Rasmuson Center and a weekend survey wrap-up session at noon on Sunday, Aug. 19, at the Rasmuson Center.

To learn more about the Sitka BioBlitz, contact the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509, go to the Sitka Conservation Society website at http://www.sitkawild.org/bioblitz/, or go to the Sitka Sound Science Center site at http://www.sitkasoundsciencecenter.org/.

• Sitka BioBlitz 2012 description of events and event leaders

• Sitka BioBlitz 2012 schedule of events

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