The Thorn Bioblitz

 BioBlitz attendees at Thorn Preserve.

BioBlitz attendees at Thorn Preserve.

The Thorn Preserve in Woodstock is a wonderful 60-acre plot of land owned by the Catskill Center and operated in partnership with the Woodstock Land Conservancy.  An old farm plot, it was donated to the Catskill Center to serve as a public preserve to fill multiple conservation education needs.

To serve that goal, the Catskill Center and the Woodstock Land Conservancy planned a BioBlitz at the Thorn Preserve last April. A typical BioBlitz has the agenda of surveying and identifying every species of animal and plant found on a particular piece of property, usually within a 24-hour period (hence the “Blitz”).

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When we were originally planning the Thorn BioBlitz, we wanted to offer a community engagement and education aspect to it in addition to the data collection part (which would later inform development of a stewardship plan for the preserve). One of our biggest goals in this avenue was to allow members of the public to volunteer with identification experts, to learn what goes into field data collection and plant and animal identification. So we invited many ID experts to the preserve over the course of a long weekend, to let the public go on as many identification walks as they wanted – birds, aquatic macroinvertebrates, woody plants, amphibians, nothing was overlooked! We even had a soils expert in to discuss the historical aspects of the land. Experts walked the preserve for between 1 and 4 hours with the volunteers and members of the public, identifying and discussing each species as they found them.

The BioBlitz last year was a great success, but it is only a snapshot of the species composition at Thorn in early spring. To help get a truly comprehensive view, to capture every wildflower and migratory bird, we are holding another BioBlitz at the Thorn Preserve this summer! Planned for Friday June 10th through Sunday June 12th, we are again inviting members of the public to walk the beautiful Thorn Preserve with identification experts, to learn about the biodiversity on the property and help contribute to the stewardship of a lovely public preserve.

This year we are also looking for interested members of the public to volunteer to help the experts collect the data – we are looking for people to help record data, take photos and take GPS recordings for each species with a particular expert. They will be trained ahead of time of the BioBlitz in these tasks. Interested people should contact Dan Snider atdsnider@catskillcenter.org