BioBlitz set for Bennett’s Creek Park

Published 8:35 pm Friday, July 17, 2015

The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance has opened sign-ups for a day of observing, identifying and documenting the many different examples of life in Bennett’s Creek Park.

Alliance Executive Director Elizabeth Taraski said NRPA volunteers and experts would lead the “BioBlitz” effort on Friday, July 31.

“It’s an opportunity to engage the community in a project that will help the Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department begin to have an assessment of the different species that are resident in the park,” Taraski said.

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The day will be divided into four sessions, each focusing on a different group of species: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. (birds); 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. (plants, trees and marsh grasses); 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. (invertebrates — mostly insects, especially butterflies); and 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. (fish and reptiles).

It’s open to the public, from ages 8 (though Taraski said it may also be appropriate for younger children) up to seasoned adults. Folks are invited to join one or more sessions.

Within the North Suffolk park, the event will focus on three different locations, Taraski said. “Experts will be going around identifying each plant and tree,” she said, as an example of how the process will work.

“Other people will be helping in that identification. At the same time, they will provide a little information about the structure of the plant,” for instance.

Taraski said the event would be a warm-up, teaching people the process, for Suffolk to participate in a statewide bioblitz in May.

Information collected would be used for future projects, she said, such as researching specific species or trends.

“What would be nice in a few years would be to have little kiosks that give a description, so that when people go to the park, they actually learn more about their environment,” Taraski said.

Participants could also use the skills they learn during the event to bioblitz their own community or property, according to Taraski.

As of Monday, about 11 people had signed up, she said, adding the hope is that many more will get on board as the date approaches.

“It should be a great time,” Taraski said, “especially for children.”

To sign up, email Elizabeth Taraski at, or call 708-6114.