Wilton parks welcome BioBlitz

Woodcock Nature Center is teaming up with Weir Farm to present a BioBlitz on May 20-21.

During the two-day event, beginning Friday, May 20, at 9 a.m., teams of scientists, families, students, teachers and visitors will work together to inventory as many species as possible.

The event is co-hosted by the U.S. National Park Service and National Geographic Society and part of the National Park Service’s nationwide quest to discover and document biodiversity.

BioBlitzes help parks develop a snapshot of biodiversity, including living creatures, their habitats, biological processes, and the connections between these living things.

This year is the National Park Service’s centennial, and BioBlitz events taking place at parks across the country during the week of May 16-22 to celebrate its 100 years of stewardship.

According to the National Park Service, national parks are becoming critical reserves of biodiversity as global threats increase, and an estimated 80% to 90% of species in parks are undiscovered.

According to Woodcock’s website, biodiversity is “fundamental to life as we know it on Earth” because wild species are part of the natural systems that regulate climate, air quality, and cycles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, mineral elements, and water; and healthy natural systems are the basis for the food systems upon which all species depend.”

Woodcock’s event takes place Friday, May 20, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Participants will collect data that will help the center and Weir Farm create a snapshot of biodiversity in the area.

The evening begins with a live owl presentation, followed by a hunt for moths and other nighttime insects with Larry Fischer and staff.

James “The Spider Guy” Tully will be on hand with his amazing arthropods so attendees can learn about live arachnids.

This program is geared toward children 5 years and older, teens and adults. Registration is required, is $15 per person and is non-refundable. Visit woodcocknaturecenter.org to register.

Weir Farm

Participants in the BioBlitz at Weir Farm on May 21 will need a backpack, sketchbook and binoculars. In keeping with Weir Farm’s artistic mission, experienced and budding artists alike are invited to sketch or paint and draw plants and animals found throughout the park. Nature walks, art activities and demonstrations, and hikes for children will be offered throughout the day.

The Weir Farm events are free and open to the public. Explorers of all ages are needed.
“Combining science, art and nature, the BioBlitz provides a great opportunity to work alongside leading scientific experts and artists to discover, count and document the living creatures in the park,” said Linda Cook, superintendent of Weir Farm National Historic Site.

All parking for the Weir event will be off-site at Branchville Elementary School in Ridgefield with shuttles to and from the park continually from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Information: nps.gov/wefa