Butterflies to Black Bears: statewide bioblitz highlighted Florida's biodiversity
Our first bioblitz– Counting on the Corridor– brought together an incredible group of land protection partners, expert naturalists, and citizen scientists from across the state. The event successfully connected people with the beauty and biodiversity of two conserved locations within the Florida Wildlife Corridor --- Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park and Ocala National Forest’s Alexander Springs Recreation Area.
People from all backgrounds explored the land, engaging in science and learning about some of Florida’s most special places. They also collected valuable data that could help protect plants and animals that make up Florida’s unique ecosystems. Though many wonderful scientists joined us, and shared their knowledge, no experience we necessary to participate. In fact, our tiniest participant was just over a year old!
We wanted our bioblitz to capture a snapshot of Florida’s biodiversity. To accomplish this, we approached the event in a big way. The sites we selected included a sand pine scrub forest with a first magnitude spring and a dry prairie filled with some of the rarest species on the planet.
Scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members worked together to count as many plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms that they could spot. More than 100 registered participants recorded nearly 400 observations! A total of 197 species were identified, including some very rare plants and insects.
Participants enjoyed guided hikes, kayak tours, swamp buggy rides, snorkel tours, botany lessons, and archeological walks led by experts. Kid Zones entertained children with fossils, coloring, and interesting wildlife lessons. Participants also learned more about how Conservation Florida is saving land within the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
Overall, it was a wonderful day outside! We hope you’ll join us at our next bioblitz.
We wish to thank all who participated including the following volunteers and organizations who donated their time and expertise in making the day a huge success.
Thank you to our Partners:
Alexander Springs Recreation Area
Florida State Parks
Florida Wildlife Corridor
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
Umatilla Chamber of Commerce
Friends of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve
American Land & Leisure
Thank you to our Volunteers:
with special thanks to Katie Ferguson & Jennifer Benson Hughes
Dr. Paul Gray
Shayna N. Jacques
& ALL participants