Union County, NJ – The public will have a unique chance to experience the hidden side of Union County parks as the 11th annual Bio-Blitz unfolds from 5:00 p.m. on Friday June 12 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday June 13, in the Watchung Reservation. Bio-Blitz is a 24-hour, ‘round the clock nature survey that tallies up hundreds of plant and animal species each year, most of which are hidden away from the public eye.
“This year we are introducing some new activities to make Bio-Blitz more exciting – and informative – than ever before,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “If you are curious about the many different plants, animals and insects that populate our parks, come to Bio-Blitz and get acquainted with some neighbors you may have never seen before.”
While the survey teams are at work, visitors can observe them in action and participate in unique nature activities, including four Bio-Blitz “firsts:”
- Catch a demonstration of the exiting outdoor treasure-hunting game of geocaching, conducted by the Northern NJ Cachers
- Join a meditative labyrinth walk and get a free introduction to the gentle art of yoga (and receive a free gift, too), from SKY Yoga of Fanwood.
- Enjoy a free instructional session on nature photography by professional nature photographer David DesRochers.
- Enter for a chance to win a guided tour of the Pine Barrens, conducted by noted ecologist Emile DeVito of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (visit the Rahway Watershed Association exhibit for details).
Many longtime Bio-Blitz favorite activities are also returning this year. During the day, drop in on a live hawk and owl exhibit, forage for edibles, tour the Deserted Village of Feltville and observe survey teams in the field, among other activities.
As the sun goes down, join a guided “sitting circle” to watch for wildlife and listen to nature’s twilight concert. Stay after dark for the famous “Owl Prowl,” night-time insect trapping, and a star watching session.
The staging area for all the Bio-Blitz action is “Bio-Blitz Central,” located near the Trailside Nature & Science Center at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.
Bio-Blitz Central features exhibits, displays, prizes, giveaways and free nonstop fun for all ages including “Bio-Blitz Bingo,” hands on activities at the Junior Naturalist Tent, and native plants for sale from the Toadshade Wildflower Farm, which will also give away one free plant to a lucky prizewinner.
At Bio-Blitz Central visitors can also watch – and sometimes assist – scientists as they examine and catalogue their findings.
Free parking is available on site and at the nearby Loop field and playground area.
Individuals, families, and groups such as Scouts can sign up for scheduled activities when they arrive at Bio-Blitz Central (no other pre-registration is required).
In addition to the donated prizes and activities listed above, Bio-Blitz is generously supported by Shoprite of Clark, Starbucks of Westfield, Whole Foods of Union, Jenkinson’s Aquarium of Point Pleasant, Staten Island Zoo, Rahway River Watershed Association, Wild Birds Unlimited of Scotch Plains, BR Environmental, and XAdmins.
For more information about Bio-Blitz and a complete schedule of activities visit ucnj.org/bio-blitz.
Professional scientists and other knowledgeable experts who are interested in joining a survey team can join online at ucnj.org/bio-blitz until June 6, or in person after June 6.
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