This past June, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies held a “wildly” successful BioBlitz at Oliver Reservoir near Kimball, Nebraska. Over 30 participants attended the event, many of whom camped overnight at the reservoir. Popular programs included macro-invertebrate and nocturnal insect surveys, a birding hike, projects for young scientists, mammal trapping and astronomy.
The children who attended the weekend’s events had the opportunity to explore alongside real scientists and immersed themselves in gathering data and observing their surroundings. The birding hike consisted of mostly kids, who became enthralled with the birds they saw and loved identifying them with their guides.
During the macro-invertebrate and nocturnal insect surveys, Chadron State College entomology professor Dr. Matt Brust assisted tremendously in identifying species and was happy to answer any questions.
As a finale to the first day’s activities, participants attended a delicious potluck dinner. Local band The Green Valley Homesteaders serenaded everyone with bluegrass music, lending a bit of fun and dance to the evening. Once the sun went down, participants gathered around Greg Halac from the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society who led an exciting program about the night sky. Participants were able to see Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, several galaxies and nebulas—despite a nearly full moon!
The events of the next day included a drive-by bird survey, plant sampling and a bee survey. Although the afternoon was warm and sunny, participants spotted a diverse array of species. In just a few hours, teams identified thirty-six unique species of birds and thirty-two species of prairie plants.
A new and useful tool for the BioBlitz was iNaturalist, an app that allows participants to document and identify species, and record them on the app’s website. Check out the species found at the Oliver Reservoir BioBlitz here!
This event would not have been successful without the help of area wildlife professionals including Nebraska Master Naturalists, who led several events, delivering quality programs to all ages.
Special thanks go to the many families who came out to this summer’s BioBlitz, and to the children who had a great time learning about and observing nature.
This event was made possible through funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
~ Chaley Sprengler, Education Assistant