Environmental educators gearing up for BioBlitz at Paul Smiths

PAUL SMITHS As spring arrives and naturalists frantically add items to their phenology calendars, environmental educators at the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Paul Smiths are gearing up for the first 24-hour BioBlitz at Paul Smiths, to be held July 20-21. The Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI), under the direction of Dr. Craig Milewski at Paul Smith's College, is organizing the 2007 Adirondack BioBlitz, which is designed to identify the biodiversity in a specific geographic location. Samples will be collected from 3 p.m. Friday, July 20 to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 21 in the Paul Smiths area, including Heron Marsh and Barnum Brook at the Paul Smiths VIC. VIC Environmental Educator 2 Milt Adams is a member of the ATBI BioBlitz Committee and is in charge of the BioBlitz activities at the VIC. Training sessions for volunteer citizen scientists will be held prior to July 20, and the public will get a chance to visit with professional scientists in the field on July 21. The goal is to have an idea of the plant and animal species on the site, Adams said. Lists of the flora and fauna that have been identified will be posted at the VIC and at Paul Smiths College, the official headquarters of the 2007 Adirondack BioBlitz. The theme this year is Wetlands. Professional scientists and volunteers will be looking for plants, microinvertebrates, macroinvertebrates, birds, fish, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians in the local wetland watersheds. The professionals will be visiting from colleges throughout the region, including Paul Smith's College, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the SUNY College at Plattsburgh. The Adirondack BioBlitz will rely heavily on volunteers from the Adirondack North Country region who will be acting as citizen scientists. I cant emphasize the importance of volunteers enough, Adams said. The more people in the field, the better the sample will be. There are no prerequisites for volunteers, and no experience is necessary. Citizen scientists, however, will need to be trained on identification and collection techniques by the chief scientists prior to the BioBlitz. It is expected that the trainees would then help the professional scientists take samples during the BioBlitz. Preregistration is required for these sessions by calling the VIC at 327-3000. Here are the three training sessions to be held in the Paul Smiths area: May 19: Reptile and Amphibian Training with Al Breisch (Time: TBA). Paul Smiths VIC. June 16: Macroinvertebrate Training with Tim Mihuc and Luke Meyers (9:30 a.m. - noon.). Freer Science Building, Room 115, on the Paul Smith's College. July 19: Water Mite Training with Andrea Radwell (9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.). Paul Smiths VIC. To learn about the Adirondack ATBI, go online to http://library.paulsmiths.edu/atbi/Index.htm.

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