The Forum: Berkshire BioBlitz to be held Saturday through Sunday at Mount Greylock


LANESBOROUGH — In celebration of local biodiversity, Berkshire County's sixth annual BioBlitz. It will be held from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday, at the base of Mt. Greylock surrounding the Visitor Center. The event is always free and open to the public. Volunteers are also needed.

This year's BioBlitz is sponsored by the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance under a grant from National Geographic Education Foundation and Elms College and co-sponsored by Dr. Augie's Science Education Programs and Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT).

The BioBlitz is an opportunity for biologists, naturalists and environmentalists to work in collaboration with the general public to gather in a given area and, in a 24-hour period, complete a formal survey of all living species and see first-hand the importance of a healthy, active ecosystem in their own community. Approximately 15 specialists will be on hand to explore, identify and educate, including specialists such as John Wheeler of the Berkshire Mycological Society (fungi), Cornell University's Scott LaGreca (lichens), Charley Eiseman (co-author of "Field Guide to Invertebrate Tracks and Signs") and Gael Hurley and Audrey Werner of the Hoffman Bird Club.

This year, the program will also include "Berkshire Biological Identification Days," during which the public is invited to bring their unidentified, curious, baffling biological specimens or items like feathers, fossils, eggs, seeds, insects and weird curly things from personal collections to be identified by experts, between 5 and 5:30 on Saturday, and 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

After dark, two programs will be taking place, "Firefly Count" and a "Moth-Light" demonstration, by Mark Mello of the Lloyd Center for the Environment.

At noon on Sunday, there will be a closing ceremony and an announcement of the final species tally. This year the "iNaturalist" digital app will be used to help count specimens. Last year, a tally of 637 species were charted at Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield.

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