ANSWER THE CALL: 2016 BIOBLITZ!

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Celebrate Michigan’s biodiversity and be a citizen scientist at the 2016 BioBlitz on July 23!

The University Center Gaylord and partners including Huron Pines will host their second annual BioBlitz and Biodiversity Festival to answer the call from the National Geographic Society and The National Parks Service in celebration of the National Parks Service’s 100th anniversary. Grab your backpack and explore the wilds of Treetops Resort’s Project Nature on Saturday, July 23, 2016.

During the BioBlitz, teams of scientists, students, teachers and the general public will join forces in a race to discover and document the flora and fauna of Project Nature. From guided hikes to family-friendly games, art, archery, and face painting, there will be something for everyone.

Part scientific endeavor, part festival, and part outdoor classroom, this BioBlitz provides a unique opportunity to work alongside leading experts to discover, count and document the living creatures in the area; to contribute to the area’s official species lists; to explore interconnectedness of plants, animals, the environment, culture and our daily lives; and to help protect the extraordinary biodiversity in Northern Michigan.

With scientists available to help, participants will discover that our natural surroundings are more than tourist attractions and recreational spots, but also living laboratories rich in biodiversity.

A concurrent Biodiversity Festival will be held at Project Nature. The festival will feature art, face painting, exhibits and hands-on activities. Through completing different activities, participants can earn their Biodiversity University Certificate and pin. In addition, regional and state conservation organizations (including Huron Pines!) will be on hand to discuss how people can continue to participate in similar activities year-round.

Teachers and informal educators can also receive training on July 23 using the Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support (MEECS) Ecosystems and Biodiversity unit and other hands-on and place-based curricula.

American Express is a national sponsor of the National Parks BioBlitz. Additional support for the University Center Gaylord BioBlitz is being provided by Michigan Geographic Alliance, Central Michigan University, Jay’s Sporting Goods, Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Natural Resources, Northeast Michigan Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Sea Grant, Huron Pines, Otsego County Historical Society, Michigan State University Extension, Line 45, Kids Outdoors Otsego and Kirtland Community College.

Explorers of all ages are needed. All events are free and open to the public; however, advance online registration is required to secure a spot on a BioBlitz inventory team. Inventory teams are best suited for ages 8 and up. Whether you have a couple of hours or a full day, there are activities to engage the whole family. To register for the University Center Gaylord BioBlitz go to http://www.ucgaylord.org/events-10/ or call 800-705-3031. To learn more about the National Parks BioBlitz activities throughout the nation go to www.nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz.