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Inaugural SIPS BioBlitz Launches Sept. 8-9

Students explore the woods
The SIPS BioBlitz connects the public with scientists and students as they work together to count as many species as possible in a predetermined area for 24 hours. 

Nature enthusiasts of all ages are invited to the 2017 SIPS BioBlitz—an action-packed scientific endeavor, competition, festival and educational programming Sept. 8-9 at Cayuga Nature Center.

The free event from the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) connects the public with scientists and students from local universities as they work together to count as many species as possible in a predetermined area for 24 hours. Participation for the event, which is the first of its kind in the area, is open to both students and local citizens.

Co-sponsored with the Cayuga Nature Center, the BioBlitz will include taxon-themed walks, demonstrations and educational programs for everyone, giving the public an opportunity to learn from scientists as they identify and catalog organisms. join the hunt for species, and use the iNaturalist app to upload their sightings to the species list. Admission is free to the Nature Center during the event.

“This is a great opportunity for people from all walks of life to get back to nature and learn about the amazing plants and animals in their own backyard,” says Scott LaGreca, SIPS BioBlitz coordinator and curator of the Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium.

The opening ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, with remarks by Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Christine Smart, professor of plant pathology and SIPS director; Warren Allmon, director of the Paleontological Research Institution; Elizabeth Thomas, Ulysses Town Supervisor; and Chief Samuel George, Cayuga Nation Bear Clan’s Sachem.

The BioBlitz starts at 5 p.m. on Friday as teams of scientists spread out across the Cayuga Nature Center’s grounds and nearby Smith Woods, one of the few old-growth forests left in the area, to take a census of everything from deer to microbes. Each team will have its headquarters at the Cayuga Nature Center, where members will show off their findings and answer questions from the public.

Schedule of Events

Friday, September 8

  • 4 p.m. - Opening Ceremonies
  • 5 p.m. - Start of BioBlitz!
  • 5-9 p.m. - Displays open in Nature Center
  • 5 p.m. - Interesting Fall Insects at the Nature Center
  • 6 p.m. - Snails and Slugs of the Forest
  • 7 p.m. - Nighttime Bat Extravaganza
  • 8 p.m. - Spiders by Flashlight
  • 9 p.m. - Moth Trapping and Nighttime Insects

Saturday, September 9

  • All Day - Taxa Tables displays and information
  • 10 a.m. - Native and Non-Native Plants and their Histories
  • 11 a.m. - Fungus Among Us Walk
  • Noon - Animal Feedings
  • 1 p.m. - Fun with Microbiology DNA
  • 2 p.m. - Walk with the Pollinators
  • 3 p.m. – Mapping Vegetation Using Drones
  • 5 p.m. - End of 24-hour BioBlitz collecting
  • 6 p.m. - Species tally announcement

More information can be found online. For questions, contact Scott LaGreca at bioblitz@cornell.edu or 607-255-2777.