What is a BioBlitz?

A BioBlitz is a period of intensive and collaborative cataloguing of the plant and animal life in a specific area. Some BioBlitzes are open to the public, but our BioBlitz is for Macaulay sophomores, who will be guided by scientific experts and other knowledgeable volunteers to complete the BioBlitz.

Here’s a little bit about our BioBlitz.

And here’s a nice short video showing a BioBlitz in McLaren Park in San Francisco.

When is the BioBlitz?

The BioBlitz starts at 3pm on Monday, August 26 2013 and ends at 3 pm on Tuesday, August 27 2013.

We will begin checking in students half an hour prior to the kickoff. Please arrive on time to check in and meet your team.

Oh no! Do I need to stay there for 24 hours?

No, we don’t expect you to be in a 24 hour endurance event! Students sign up for one shift. Most shifts are about three hours long. During your shift, you will work in a team to catalogue a particular type of life in the park. You will have directions and guidance.

Where is the BioBlitz?

This year’s BioBlitz is in Central Park. All students will check in at the North Meadow Recreation Center to get credentials and materials, be put in teams, and meet your BioBlitz leaders. After checking in, teams will get information about where in the park to focus their species surveys.

The North Meadow Recreation Center is at about 97th Street, midpark. Take the B or C to 96th Street and walk east into the park.

North Meadow Rec Center

Who should attend? Do I have to sign up?

This event is for Macaulay sophomores (that’s the class of 2016). If you are a Macaulay sophomore, this is a required event and registration is required. Sign up by clicking the “Register” button in the right column of this page, or by clicking the Register tab in the navigation button of the site. Sign up for one and only one slot. All slots are first-come, first-served. You will sign up for a time slot and then give a preference for the type of life you would like to survey. Your time slot will be locked in when you register, but the type of survey work you will do will not. We will do our best to accommodate preferences, but cannot make promises beyond your time slot. Registration closes on August 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

What should I bring with me?

There will be no storage space for personal items onsite. If you have an iPhone or Android, please download iNaturalist and bring your device! Otherwise, please avoid bringing extra things and valuables with you.

When you arrive at the North Meadow Recreation Center, you will get a backpack with credentials, instructions and a map, a BioBlitz t-shirt, a small snack (such as a granola bar) and a bottle of water.

What should I wear?

You will be working outside. For safety reasons, you must wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and clothing that covers your legs. Do not wear shorts, short skirts, sandals, flip-flops, high heels etc. And don’t forget sunscreen!

What should I expect?

You should expect a fun and active learning experience that will help you experience Central Park in ways you have not before. The last BioBlitz in Central Park was ten years ago. You will be contributing to an important event whose data will help scientists and citizens of New York to understand how biodiversity in Central Park has changed in the last ten years.

Do I need to do anything in advance to prepare?

You need to register!

Besides registering, please create an iNaturalist account and download the app if you have a compatible device.

Who will be there to help me?

We are working with a team of scientists and knowledgeable enthusiasts to lead teams of students. Team leaders will provide guidance, instruction, and species identification help.

How do we collect information?

We will use a program called iNaturalist to record information. Please create an account with iNaturalist. Android and iPhone apps are available, so if you have one of those, please download the app before you arrive. We will try to make sure that every team has at least one member with an iNaturalist-equipped mobile device, but we will provide good old-fashioned paper and pencils as back up.

What happens to the data we collect?

Data will be used in your Seminar 3 classes and by scientists who study the various forms of life you will encounter. The Central Park Conservancy will also use the data to help inform decisions they make about the park.

What if it rains?

The BioBlitz will go on rain or shine. We will have ponchos on hand. If there is an extreme weather event such as a hurricane, the BioBlitz will be canceled and we will inform participants via email and this site. If there is a brief period of severe weather, such as a thunderstorm, activity will temporarily be suspended. Leaders will communicate with their teams in case of a weather event during the course of the day.

What if I can’t come?

This is a mandatory event for Macaulay sophomores. If you can’t come, you should talk to your Seminar 3 professor about what makeup activity he or she requires.

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