ASTORIA — Lewis and Clark National Historical Park needs you to help discover living organisms at a BioBlitz quest and Biodiversity Festival on Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21.
Volunteers of all ages are invited to join park rangers and scientists as part of a national effort to document and celebrate biodiversity in national parks. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is one of 34 national sites in the Pacific West Region participating in the event.
At BioBlitz, participants will explore and help keep an inventory of pollinators, plants and more at the park. Attendees will identify and count plant and animal species using apps such iNaturalist, Bumble Bee Watch, Project Budburst and eBird. Visitors are welcome to bring their own technology or use a limited number of park devices.
Sign up is required to participate in scientist-led species inventories. Limited spots are available at Eventbrite to get on an inventory team led by an expert.
National parks are living laboratories for scientific investigations that continue to advance our understanding of nature. Parks often serve as indicators of the health of the world’s ecosystems, and they are places to explore the natural world. You never know what’s hiding under a rock or beneath a fern.
Leading up to the two days of BioBlitz activities is a Thursday, May 19 Nature Matters presentation by Rich Hatfield titled “The Iconic Bumble Bee: The Decline of Our Native Pollinators.” Hatfield, a senior conservation biologist with the Xerces Society, describes the work being done to help conserve these pollinators and what you can do to help. The free event takes place at 7 p.m. at the Fort George Lovell Showroom.
The next night, Friday, May 20, learn about moths and night pollinators from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Netul Landing Shelter. Attend a presentation and moth inventory led by local experts, where you’ll learn how to entice and identify these exciting night-time pollinators. Sign-up is not required.
Saturday morning, local biologist and educator Mike Patterson will offer a Sunrise Big Day Bird Count from 6 to 9 a.m. While Paterson is best known for his work with birds, he also possesses extensive knowledge of invertebrates and other organisms and has a keen interest in the interconnections of living things. After a brief discussion and gathering, divide into smaller teams and set out looking for birds along the Lewis and Clark River. Dress for the weather with closed-toed shoes, and bring water, snacks and binoculars. The count is wheelchair accessible. No pets are allowed. Sign up now at Eventbrite or just show up at Netul Landing.
Species inventories events are planned for Saturday, including multiple inventories for you to participate in and become a citizen scientist. Join experts and learn to identify butterflies, dragonflies and pollinators. Then share your findings with the world via iNaturalist. Dress for rain or shine, wear closed-toed shoes, and bring sunscreen, insect repellent, water, snack and/or lunch, and your smartphone. No pets are allowed. Preregistration is required; sign up at Eventbrite for the following sessions; only about 12 slots are available for each session:
• 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – “Pollinator Inventories” led by Patterson, biologist and educator.
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – “Dragonfly Inventory” led by Jim Johnson, a dragonfly expert and enthusiast who serves on the Dragonfly Society of the Americas executive council.
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – “Butterfly Inventory” led by Candace Fallon, a conservation biologist at the Xerces Society, where she works to better understand and protect invertebrates and their habitats.
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – “Butterfly Inventory” led by Robert Pyle, a butterfly ecologist and founder of the Xerces Society. Pyle has a Ph.D in butterfly ecology and has been involved in butterfly science and conservation for more than 50 years.
• 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – “Butterfly Inventory” led by Fallon.
• 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – “Butterfly Inventory” led by Pyle.
A Biodiversity Festival is also taking place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, featuring a slate of activities and talks at Science Central, the park’s Netul Landing complex. The schedule is as follows:
• 10 to 10:30 a.m. – The day will begin with “Why Biodiversity?” by keynote speaker Jerry Freilich, who is the retired director of the North Coast & North Cascades Science Learning Network.
• 11 to 11:30 a.m. – “Dragonflies of Clatsop County” by Johnson
• Noon to 12:30 p.m. – “Biodiversity Begins with a Bee” by Jerry Freilich.
• 1 to 1:30 p.m. – “Butterflies of the Maritime” by Pyle and Fallon.
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Cultural Demonstration by the Chinook Indian Nation. Meet artist and carver Tony Johnson, the current chair of the Chinook Indian Nation and a scholar of language and culture. Johnson acquired Chinuk Wawa as a second language and wood working skills from his elders. He is now teaching the next generation.
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – KidZone calling all kids: Join park ranger staff and volunteers for a little creativity and nature-inspired crafts or just have your face painted with favorite bird, invertebrate or plant.
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Other fun: Help upload findings to iNaturalist. Check out what is happening at the other Bioblitz activities across the nation on the big screen. Look at some of the day’s findings under microscopes. Chat with experts and learn more about the environment around us.
• 2:30 to 3 p.m. – Thank You from Lewis and Clark National Historical Park Superintendent Scott Tucker.
All events will take place at the park’s Netul Landing Complex and are free.
Preregistration information and the Saturday schedule is available at the park’s website, www.nps.gov/lewi and Facebook Page, or can be picked up at the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center front desk. For more information, call the park at 503-861-2471.