CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Tom Plante, 908-527-4746


Families & Neighborhood Naturalists Will Enjoy “Bio-Blitz 2009”
at Briant Park, Hidden Valley & Houdaille Quarry, June 12-13


SUMMIT / SPRINGFIELD, NJ – Union County’s 5th annual Bio-Blitz will take place over a 24-hour period on Friday, June 12, and Saturday, June 13. Scientists, skilled naturalists, community volunteers and neighborhood nature lovers will fan out across Briant Park, Hidden Valley Park and Houdaille Quarry in Summit and Springfield to identify as many living creatures and types of vegetation as possible while they enjoy the great outdoors in this trio of Union County parks.

There will be butterflies and dragonflies, birds and mammals, trees, frogs and flowers to discover and identify – hundreds of species in the parks and something to interest nature lovers of all ages. The goal of this effort is to raise awareness of the diversity of life in these parks and the wonderful resources they offer for recreation and as outdoor classrooms.

“The County of Union is proud to sponsor this annual survey of biodiversity and we welcome the support of Kean University and the many organizations and schools that will make up the Bio-Blitz team this year,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Together we will increase our appreciation of the natural world around us and share this knowledge with others to improve our quality
of life.”

Bio-Blitz 2009 is free to all. The
blitz will start at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12, with staff and scientists on-hand throughout the night.
Other volunteers will work in shifts throughout Saturday, June 14,
until 5 p.m.

Families can enjoy nature together at Bio-Blitz 2009 on June 12-13
in Briant Park, Hidden Valley Park and the Houdaille Quarry in Summit and Springfield. For more information about Bio-Blitz 2009,
a complete schedule of events and directions, visit the Union County web site: or call 908-789-3209.


“Bio-Blitz Central” will be located in Briant Park. A large tent will house a field lab for scientists plus live exhibits of reptiles, amphibians, fish and plants. Event-day results and identifications will be posted at the tent and public programs and workshops will be offered.

Children will enjoy playing “Bio-Blitz Bingo” as they mark special bingo cards when they identify species found in the parks. All entries win a prize! Some of the other special family events include:

  • “Frog Sloggin” – Friday, 6:30 p.m.: search for frogs and toads at Briant Pond.
  • “Bats & Owl Prowl” – Friday, 9:00-10:30 p.m.: guided walk to find nocturnal birds.
  • “Bird Walk” – Saturday, 7:00 a.m. and again at 4:00 p.m.: guided walk for birders ages 10 and older accompanied by an adult; bring binoculars if you have them.
  • “Junior Birders & Buggers” – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. and again at 1:00 p.m.: young naturalists join Girl Scouts on a walk to look for birds and insects.
  • “Animal Homes & Hideouts” – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. and again at 2:00 p.m.: learn about bird nests, animal tracks and dens.
  • “Nature Awareness” – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. and again at 2:00 p.m.: learn to “read” the landscape, study nature’s rings, and do the “fox walk.”

The Bio-Blitz Committee is certain that most visitors to this year’s event will be pleasantly surprised at just how much wildlife exists is this suburban “backyard” and their hope is to top last year’s total of 570 species. To learn more about last year’s bio-blitz, pick up a “Bio-Blitz 2008 Results Brochure” at Trailside Nature & Science Center, located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.

A bio-blitz is an intensive effort to identify plants and animals found in a given area – in this case the 173-acre trio of Union County parks. Along with woodland, stream, river and field habitats, this year’s bio-blitz will offer unique ridge and valley habitats which may yield surprising results.

Bio-Blitz 2009 is sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal, Kean University, and Kean’s Institute of Urban Ecosystem Studies.

The sponsors are partnering with many other organizations, including the Arthur Kill Watershed Association, Auburn University of Texas, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Briant Parkway Olmsted Conservancy, Columbia University, Friends of Lenape Park, National Biodiversity Parks, Inc., the New Jersey Mycological Association, NJ Department of Environmental Protection Fish & Wildlife, NJ DEP Americorps Watershed Ambassador Program, Reeves-Reed Arboretum, the Staten Island Zoo, Torrey Botanical Society, Trailside Nature & Science Center, Union County Parks Advisory Board, Summit Garden Club, Wild Birds Unlimited, and WildMetro.

For more information about Bio-Blitz 2009, a complete schedule of events and directions, visit the Union County web site: or call 908-789-3209.