Bio-Blitz to explore the many mysteries of the Watchung Reservation

Photo courtesy of Debbie Partesi The 11th annual Bio-Blitz 24-hour nature survey will be in the Watchung Reservation, from June 12 to 13. For more information visit ucnj.org/bio-blitz .
Photo courtesy of Debbie Partesi
The 11th annual Bio-Blitz 24-hour nature survey will be in the Watchung Reservation, from June 12 to 13. For more information visit ucnj.org/bio-blitz .

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The public will have a chance to experience the hidden side of Union County parks at the 11th annual Bio-Blitz, from 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12, to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, in the Watchung Reservation. Bio-Blitz is a 24-hour nature survey that tallies up hundreds of plant and animal species each year, most of which are hidden from the public eye.

The staging area for all the Bio-Blitz action is Bio-Blitz Central, near the Trailside Nature & Science Center at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.

While the survey teams are at work, visitors can observe them in action and participate in nature activities, including:
· a demonstration of the outdoor treasure-hunting game of geocaching, conducted by the Northern NJ Cachers organization;
· a meditative labyrinth walk and free introduction to yoga by SKY Yoga of Fanwood;
· a free instructional session on nature photography by professional nature photographer David DesRochers; and
· enter for a chance to win a guided tour of the Pine Barrens, conducted by noted ecologist Dr. Emile DeVito of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

Many longtime Bio-Blitz favorite activities are returning this year. During the day, drop in on a live hawk and owl exhibit, forage for edibles, tour the deserted village of Feltville and observe survey teams in the field, among other activities. As the sun goes down, join a guided “sitting circle” to watch for wildlife and listen to nature’s twilight concert. Stay after dark for the “Owl Prowl,” insect trapping, and a star-watching session.

Bio-Blitz Central features exhibits, displays, prizes, giveaways and free fun for all ages including Bingo, hands-on activities at the Junior Naturalist Tent, and native plants for sale from the Toadshade Wildflower Farm, which will also give away one free plant. Visitors can also watch – and sometimes assist – scientists as they examine and catalogue their findings.

Individuals, families, and groups such as Scouts can sign up for scheduled activities when they arrive at Bio-Blitz Central; no other pre-registration is required. For more information about Bio-Blitz and a complete schedule of activities visitucnj.org/bio-blitz.

Professional scientists and other knowledgeable experts who are interested in joining a survey team can join in person.
Free parking is available on site and at the nearby Loop field and playground area.

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