Education

Bio-Blitz 2015 Explores the Secret Life of Watchung Reservation

cee75aac5b4bf2222210_BioBlitz_turtle.JPG
Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski (far r.) meets some of the local wildlife with naturalists and a young visitor. Turtles are among the hundreds of different animals and plants that populate Union County parks, many of which are usually hidden from view.  Credits: County of Union, NJ
cee75aac5b4bf2222210_BioBlitz_turtle.JPG

 

ELIZABETH, NJ -- How many different plant and animal species populate Union County’s Watchung Reservation? The answer will be forthcoming next month, when 150 volunteer scientists and naturalists comb through forests, fields, and waterways for Bio-Blitz, an annual survey of wildlife in County parks. Nature fans of all ages are invited to observe the work and enjoy free hands-on activities during the 24-hour, ‘round-the-clock celebration of local flora and fauna, including games, prizes and giveaways.

Bio-Blitz 2015 begins at the Watchung Reservation at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 12, and wraps up at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 13.

“Watchung Reservation is home to hundreds of plant and animal species, and many of them are hidden away from view, said Union County Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “This is a rare chance to explore the secret life of our Union County parks with the experts, so I encourage everyone to stop by and join us at ‘Bio-Blitz Central’ in June.”

Sign Up for E-News

Bio-Blitz Central is the staging area for the survey teams, public activities and exhibits. It will be located behind the old museum on the grounds of the Trailside Nature & Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside, where free parking is available.

“This year we are offering new ‘trending topics’ activities like geocaching and meditation walks, along with traditional Bio-Blitz favorites such as exhibits of live fish, snakes and turtles, the hands-on tree table, the hawk and owl demonstration, and our Junior Scientist tent for youngsters,” said Freeholder Sergio Granados, the Freeholder Board’s liaison to the Department of Parks and Recreation. “Come and explore our rich natural heritage with your family and friends.”

Exhibits at Bio-Blitz Central are open for public view throughout the event. Scheduled activities for the public kick off at 5:00 p.m. on Friday with a wild edible walk, followed by a visit to a baiting station to identify animal tracks, a “Photo-Blitz” nature photography workshop, and a “sitting circle” listening to nature’s twilight concert. After dark, the fun continues with the “owl prowl,” a late-night star watch, and a midnight insect-trapping session.

On Saturday, visitors can join naturalists on a stream-sampling expedition, an electro-fishing demonstration, a hunt for spore-bearing plants and a nearby “Mini-Blitz” among other activities. The day starts with an early morning bird walk at 7:00 a.m. and activities continue throughout the morning and afternoon, until 5:00 p.m.

New this year, Bio-Blitz 2015 features a geocaching demonstration from the organization Northern New Jersey Cachers and a guided “Yoga labyrinth walk” by SKY Yoga of Fanwood. Friday’s nature photography workshop is also new.

The all-volunteer Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County will be on hand Saturday starting at 11:00 a.m., to provide expert gardening advice along with tours of the Demonstration Garden. They will also offer a free bird feeder craft activity for youngsters.

Along with the immersive nature experience, Bio-Blitz 2015 will provide visitors with a chance to win prizes including an exclusive guided tour of the Pine Barrens by noted ecologist Dr. Emil Devito of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. The tour is donated by the Rahway River Watershed Association, and it will take place on a date to be arranged with the prizewinner.

Other free giveaways are also available from exhibitors, and visitors to the Junior Scientist tent can get a free poster and play “Bio-Blitz Bingo.”

All Bio-Blitz activities are free and open on a walk-in basis. Visitors are asked to sign up for scheduled activities at the Info Tent when they arrive at Bio-Blitz Central, and to be aware of recommended age groups for some of the activities. 

Bio-Blitz is made possible by the Freeholder Board with many generous contributions from volunteer scientists and support staff, and local businesses and organizations including Shoprite of Clark, Starbucks of Westfield, Whole Foods of Union, Jenkinson’s Aquarium of Point Pleasant, the Staten Island Zoo, the Rahway River Watershed Association, Wild Birds Unlimited of Scotch Plains, BR Environmental, XAdmins graphic arts, SKY Yoga of Fanwood, Tony and Natalie Gregorio of Elizabeth, and Toadshade Nursery.

For more information about free public activities at Bio-Blitz 2015, visit ucnj.org/bio-blitz.

Information to register as an exhibitor or an expert survey team member is also available at ucnj.org/bio-blitz (the registration deadline is June 4).

Connect with Union County on social media.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Elizabeth

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 26, 4:30 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Black History Month Bingo

Education Food & Drink

Tue, February 27, 11:00 AM

Vauxhall Library, Vauxhall

Toddler & Pre-K Program

Education

Wed, February 28, 11:30 AM

The Arc Kohler School, Mountainside

OPEN HOUSE at The Arc Kohler School for Students ...

Education Health & Wellness Other

Union County Freeholders Partner in Two Upcoming Hiring Events

February 17, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders have announced two hiring event opportunities coming up with Griswold Home Care of Union County and the United Airlines “Summer Assist” youth program.

The first event is with Griswold Home Care of Union County. They are a privately owned, non-medical home care company and are looking for Certified Home Health Aides ...

“Hidden in Plain Sight” - A Presentation Centered Around a Teen’s Bedroom 

ROSELLE, NJ - Elizabeth Parents, grandparents, caregivers, when it comes to your children and drugs, do you know where to look? Do you know what you are looking for? You may be surprised at what is "Hidden in Plain Sight."

The Roselle Everett Hatcher Prevention Coalition and Prevention Links invite all parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and other adults from the city of ...

At Westfield High School, Student Says ‘It’s Almost Normal to Juul Here’

February 16, 2018

Editor’s note: This story about the rise in teen e-cigarette use, written by Westfield High School student Greta Frontero, originally ran in the Jan. 8 edition of WHS student newspaper Hi’s Eye.

WESTFIELD, NJ — A 12th-grade Westfield High School female said she doesn’t bring her Juul to school, but will use someone else’s if the opportunity ...

Indictment Handed Down in Millburn Carjacking

February 21, 2018

TRENTON, NJ – An indictment was handed down in the November carjacking in Millburn where a 13-year old girl was allegedly grabbed by the neck and the suspect threatened to kill her. 

The 11-count state grand jury indictment charges Ahmed Anthony, 30, of Newark with conspiracy, carjacking, robbery and making terroristic threats among other charges. The conspiracy in the first-degree ...

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

February 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Reminder: Free Wellness Program for Union County Military Women

February 22, 2018

All Union County women with military service – veterans, active duty and reserve – are invited to join “Boots 2 Heels,” a free event designed to foster wellness and connect women with resources and guidance for empowerment. Boots 2 Heels will be held on Saturday, February 24 at the Westfield Armory, located at 500 Rahway Avenue in Westfield.

The event is free but ...