BioBlitz - finding nature in the city
New Zealand’s leading biennial 24-hour ‘environmental race against time’ is just a few days away, and Aucklanders are being urged to get involved.
Wednesday 28 Mar 2012
New Zealand’s leading biennial 24-hour ‘environmental race against time’ is just a few days away, and Aucklanders are being urged to get involved.The aim of BioBlitz, which this year is on Friday 30 and Saturday 31 March at Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa and the adjoining Totara Park, is to find and name as many species of plants, fungi, insects and other animals as possible.
Being organised by Landcare Research in partnership with Auckland Council and the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust the free event will provide a unique opportunity for members of the public, students and scientists to learn about the biodiversity in an urban reserve.
The focus is a 24-hour race to gather an inventory of the native, introduced, pest and rare species seen, which provides valuable information to share with the public and assist the scientists’ work.
Organiser Peter Buchanan of Landcare Research says BioBlitz allows the public to engage with scientists and learn more about the different fauna, flora and fungi in a city’s reserves and remnants of native bush.
“At ‘base camp’ we set up a science laboratory for the public to access and there are numerous photographic and interactive displays and opportunities to talk to scientists. Guided field trips, including some after-dark walks, will offer a wonderful opportunity for all the family to find out from the experts what is living in the two parks.”
The event is also a rare opportunity for many different types of biologists from a number of organisations to work together in the same place, at the same time and on the same project, says Dr Buchanan.
“The scientists try to find and record every life form we can from the smallest bacteria, insects and fish right up to the birds and trees. We sometimes even find species never seen before.”
Auckland Council’s Environmental Services Manager Janis McArdle says BioBlitz is a great way to get the public involved and gather information to benefit the council’s work.
“For example during the event our staff help undertake surveillance for known pest plants and animals, identify plant diseases present and any pests new to Auckland or potentially New Zealand. This helps inform our current and future work.
“The event also helps raise public awareness about the value of biodiversity and what biosecurity and other environmental issues we have in the city, which is beneficial too.”
In addition to Auckland Council Environmental Services staff, the council’s Stormwater unit will also be at BioBlitz with their Great Drain Game trailer and representatives from WaiCare, an Auckland Council community partnership programme, will also be there. Auckland Museum, the Department of Conservation and several other agencies are also involved in BioBlitz.
The event will be opened on Friday by Auckland Council Environment and Sustainability Forum Chair Wayne Walker and Landcare Research’s board chair Jo Brosnahan. The ‘bugman’ Ruud Kleinpaste will announce the grand total of species recorded and close the event at 5pm on Saturday.
Parking on Everglade Drive near the ‘base camp’ marquee at the northern end of the gardens is recommended.
The event is on from 9am - 11pm on Friday and 7 am - 5 pm on Saturday. More details and ongoing updates are available online at http://nzbioblitz.wordpress.com/.