BioBlitz at Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge

The Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge will be teaming up with Discover Life in America (DLiA), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to host a BioBlitz at the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Tennessee. This free event is open to the public and is a wonderful chance to learn about the animals, plants, and other organisms that live around the Refuge.

A BioBlitz is a short, intense team effort to survey as many different types of organisms as possible in one location, including plants, insects and other animals, fungi, and more. BioBlitzes help Tennessee NWR to better manage its natural areas by knowing what species are present and by noting any species that should be monitored or controlled. At a BioBlitz, members of the public become citizen scientists, helping to gather real scientific biodiversity data. It’s also a fun way to learn about local biodiversity and connect with nature, working side-by-side with regional scientists.

“This is a very unique opportunity” says Joan Howe, Refuge Ranger at the Tennessee NWR. “We have never held this type of event here at the refuge and may never get the chance again!  This event attracts scientists, biologists and nature specialists from all over Tennessee to come to our part of the county to conduct this type intense survey.  However the public participation is easy, if you can take a picture with your cell phone, you can help us out!”

Anyone can participate in this free, family-friendly outdoor event. Children are welcome! Before the event, participants should register at dlia.org/bioblitz-tnwr and should install and set up iNaturalist (a citizen science app) on their mobile device. Experts will be on hand to guide participants and answer their biodiversity-related questions. Even after the BioBlitz event, anyone can contribute to this project when visiting to Tennessee NWR or any of TVA’s BioBlitz sites and recording new observations in iNaturalist. A list of sites can be found at inaturalist.org/projects/dlia-bioblitzes-with-tva.

“Biodiversity keeps our world ticking! Without it, we are lost” says Will Kuhn, DLiA’s Director of Science and Research. “BioBlitzes are a great way to connect with your neighborhood flora and fauna and they’re really fun!”

The Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and  encompasses nearly 51,000 acres stretched across 65 miles of the Tennessee River.  However, this particular BioBlitz will be held on several hundred acres immediately surrounding the refuge Visitor Center.

For more information about this Bioblitz call the refuge headquarters at 731-642-2091. To register, go to dlia.org/bioblitz-tnwr.

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