The first ever BioBlitz held at Indian Creek Nature Center was nothing but a success. Many community members made their way out to our grounds and trails to help ID as much biodiversity as possible, exploring everything our prairies, wetlands, and woodlands have to offer.
Over the course of the week, we had 91 observers walking our grounds, snapping photos, and logging what they saw to iNaturalist. With the additional help of 78 volunteer hours, we were able to collect almost 4,320 observations, identifying almost 900 species of plants, animals, and insects!
We held diverse educational programs that gave our visitors more insight into ID in certain biological areas. From bird banding, to blacklight insect monitoring, to prairie plant ID, we had 110 visitors stop out to learn more about ID from local experts. And all of the information gathered on these hikes of course went towards our final species count.
Of these 900 species, there were a few we were very excited to find. We identified two species of fritillary butterflies, the great spangled fritillary and the meadow fritillary, in our prairies. With fritillary species in decline due to habitat loss, it is exciting that we are able to provide refuge for a few of the fritillary group species. Another amazing observation was that of the yellow-breasted chat. While this bird species is not in decline, its presence in our area is very infrequent. So being able to successfully band this species on our property is a rare occurrence!
Along with unexpected species, there were also species we weren’t happy to see on our grounds. These would include black locust, reed canary grass, oriental bittersweet, and more. Many of these invasive species have benefitted from the derecho damaged woodlands. We knew they were already established in some areas of the property. But with the help of community members and volunteers at the BioBlitz, we now are even more aware of these invasive species populations and can better our restoration efforts to eradicate them.
There were a handful of observers who donated much of their time during the week of the BioBlitz in order to help us survey our biodiversity. We’d like to recognize Daniel Husmann and Karla McGrail for their efforts at the event. Daniel identified 281 species and Karla identified 193 species. Thank you for dedicating so much time to this event!
If you’d like to take a deep dive into all of the biodiversity observed during our BioBlitz, please visit (https://www.inaturalist.org/