#bioPGH Blog: BioBlitz 2023!
Jun 01

#bioPGH Blog: BioBlitz 2023!

By Dr. Maria Wheeler-Dubas, Research and Science Education Outreach Manager

Biophilia NetworkA resource of Biophilia: Pittsburgh, #bioPGH is a weekly blog and social media series that aims to encourage both children and adults to reconnect with nature and enjoy what each of our distinctive seasons has to offer. 

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Where can you investigate owl diets, try out bird beak models, dig through some leaf litter to find some teeny critters, meet local scientists and naturalists, attend a botanical illustration class, and pot your own plants to take home? You can do all that and more at this year’s BioBlitz on Phipps’ front lawn, this Sunday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.!

What’s a bioblitz? one might ask. In the most traditional scientific explanation, a bioblitz is an event that unites scientists and volunteers to identify as many living things in a given area over a set time frame—usually 24 hours. It truly is a mad dash, or a “blitz,” to quickly identify everything possible, which is why the volunteers are so helpful. Scientists can then use the data to better understand the health of the local ecosystem and keep a record of the living things in the study area. Some of the more notable bioblitzes in recent years include the series of broadly attended events hosted by the National Park Service in 2016 to celebrate their centennial year and various chapters of the Audubon Society host annual BioBlitzes in their respective areas.

If this sounds intriguing, mark your calendar for this weekend! On Sun., June 4, our eighth annual BioBlitz and Family Fun Festival will bring together families, students, local scientists and naturalists, teachers and community leaders to conduct biological surveys, exploration and celebration of living species in Schenley Park — a discovery of the wonders of nature like no other! BioBlitz supports important research and documentation of regional biodiversity, aiding scientists in learning more about the local environment and ways to support its conservation. By participating, you'll get to experience the amazing biodiversity of local Pennsylvania in a fun, community-centered way.

Some of the highlights of the day will include guided nature walks, botanical illustration classes with Robin Menard (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.), and activities on the lawn for families to work on together. All of the main activities, including exhibitors at the research base officially begin at 9:00 am, though the birding walk begins at 8:30 a.m.

  • *New to BioBlitz* Bat Night HikeSat., June 3read details here | 8:30 p.m.
  • Birding Walk with Kate St. John, author of the Outside My Window blog | 8:30 a.m.
  • Stream Life with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy | 9 a.m.
  • Mobile Aquaponics Lab Demo with Commonwealth Charter Academy | 9 a.m. 
  • Journaling What You Sense with Kim Refosco of Outdoor Afro | 10 a.m. 
  • Things Left Behind: Scats and Tracks with Pennsylvania Master Naturalists | 11 a.m. 
  • PA Fishes and Electrofishing Demo with Dr. Brady Porter of Duquesne University | 11 a.m. 
  • All Things Fungi with Western Pa Mushroom Club | Noon
  • PA Native Plants with Dr. Shishir Paudel of Phipps Conservatory | Noon
  • Snails and Leaf Litter Critters with Dr. Tim Pearce of Carnegie Museum of Natural History | 1 p.m.
  • Wildflowers and Plants with Allegheny Land Trust | 1 p.m. 
  • PA's Furred and Feathered Friends with Dr, Maria Wheeler-Dubas of Phipps Conservatory | 2 p.m.
  • Insects Ahead! with Braley Burke of Phipps Conservatory | 2 p.m.

This will be a full day of hands-on science that you don’t want to miss. We hope you’ll be a part of Pittsburgh’s BioBlitz Family Fun Festival at Phipps!

For more information, check out our website  or contact Maria Wheeler-Dubas, science education and research outreach manager, at mwheeler-dubas@phipps.conservatory.org.

Photo Credits: Maria Wheeler-Dubas (cover and carpenter bee) and Pexels CC0 (header).