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Annual BioBlitz To Be Held At Brinton Museum, Virtual Event Statewide

Brinton Museum front with plants and a sunny and blue sky cloudy day
Brinton Museum
Brinton Museum

Audubon Rockies is hosting its annual BioBlitz this July at the Brinton Museum in Big Horn.

A BioBlitz is an event where scientists and the public come together to identify and record all the types of plants, fungi, animals, and insects in a specific area. Audubon Rockies has been hosting the event in Wyoming since 2008 with the location changing each time.

The group's Education Programs Manager Jacelyn Downey said there are a couple of new additions this year. Ahead of the main event of surveying the area, she said there will be workshops on botany and insects for those interested in learning more.

"The groundskeeper there at the Brinton [is] going to be leading a night hike. We've never done a night hike before," she said. "So we're looking forward to that. I know we'll be looking for bats and other nighttime critters."

Participants will also be planting 75 to 100 cottonwood and willow trees along Little Goose Creek.

Downey said the event is a good opportunity for citizens of all ages. Adults can engage in the community and further hobbies and youth can learn more about being a scientist.

"They get to see how biologists use tools, how they survey, and how they do their research, and actually get to participate in [it]. So I think that's a really great opportunity for the kids," Downey said.

The event will take place from July 23-25 at the Brinton. Most of the tickets are sold out, but there is a waitlist.

Downey said because of the limited availability and distance, some may not be able to make the in-person event. So, Audubon Rockies is holding a virtual BioBlitz this summer in addition to its in-person event.

Downey said they created a virtual version of their annual event last year after the pandemic caused the group to cancel the in-person experience and it drew a huge turnout.

"We recorded literally thousands of species and so many different people participated. We did a little competition between counties. We had a little competition to see which group would find the most species, so that was fun. So we're going to be recreating that again," she said.

Downey said for the virtual BioBlitz, participants can do as much or as little as they want.

"People have the opportunity to participate anywhere in the state for as long as they want during that weekend. They can identify one plant or animal or go on a smorgasbord and do every single thing they see," she said.

Participants will use the iNaturalist app and take pictures of plants and animals, even if they can't identify what it is.

The virtual BioBlitz will take place the following weekend, beginning on Friday, July 30.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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