This project had big goals---a) reaching 500 students directly by having feet on-the-ground at the Dargan Nature Preserve and b) indirectly reaching a wider range of students through this website where they can learn about other groups successes on the property and hopefully see their own success stories. We surpassed all of these goals during the 2016 BioBlitz program! More than 600 area children from 3rd through 12th grades participated in the Black Creek BioBlitz as "environmental detectives", using their natural skills to help the land trust identify native wildlife and vegetation at the 217-acre nature preserve. Over the last year, a total of twenty-five groups from public and private schools, home schoolers, YMCA and other camps, 4-H clubs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and others participated in the BioBlitz, and each student received a Certificate of Excellence in Citizen Science for their work. The students were successful in identifying more than 32 species of trees, shrubs, plants, and fungi, and 83 species of reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, and insects.
This program was designed to get student’s help surveying the property while they explored the rich oak-pine forest laden with a wide variety of biodiversity such as birds, fish, and other organisms yet to be discovered on-site. The property is characterized by ephemeral ponds, 2 adjoining streams, along with a mixture of flood plains and hardwood forests; all things which increase the biodiversity found at the preserve. We loved kids being able to discover something new and exciting!
Students also experienced fun surveying techniques including searching under cover boards, rocks, and fallen logs for hidden organisms. They were provided with field guides that helped assist them in identifying organisms and a workbook where they documented their findings. This hands-on learning experience enhanced skills for observing, documenting, and analyzing data.
We sincerely hope that you and your group become a part of our citizen scientist team. Together we can promote scientific growth and raise awareness of our environmental responsibilities! Groups that are interested in exploring the Dargan Preserve are welcome to contact PDLT to reserve a time to go out and explore.