Apr 28, 2015

FVCC Invites Community to Inaugural BioBlitz

The Flathead Valley Community College biology and natural resources departments invite the community to participate in FVCC’s first BioBlitz May 9. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the FVCC campus.


In an effort to survey the biological diversity of the college campus, FVCC biology and natural resources faculty and students will partner with community members to identify as many plants, birds, amphibians, insects, fish, mammals, fungi and other species as possible in a given time period. The college campus consists of over 200 acres, with much of it immediately adjacent to the Stillwater River.


“This event will give us a snapshot of the biological diversity that exists around us,” said FVCC Associate Professor of Biology Ruth Wrightsman, Ph.D. “The area along the river provides excellent habitat for wildlife, and we’re excited to see how many species we can find during this survey.”


The FVCC BioBlitz will be combination of scientific discovery, celebration and fun as participants observe and record the biological diversity on the college campus. The events scheduled for the FVCC BioBlitz include observations of birds, trees, plants, fungi and collection and identification of insects and aquatic invertebrates. Participants will be supplied with equipment needed for observations, including binoculars, field guides and field checklists. The BioBlitz tent will provide a work area for specimen identification using dissecting and compound microscopes.


In addition, FVCC biotechnology students will demonstrate how organisms can be identified using DNA barcoding. Other activities will include tours of the campus farm, demonstrations of mapping using geographic information systems (GIS) technology, DNA barcoding demonstrations and polarization demonstrations.


The first BioBlitz was held in 1996 in Kenilworth Park in Washington, D.C., and many more have been held in national, state and local parks throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. These surveys have been sponsored by global agencies, including the National Park Service, National Geographic Society and The Nature Conservancy.


The FVCC BioBlitz schedule of events include:

9 a.m.:  Welcome and kick-off;

9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.:  Guided hikes, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour each on the FVCC campus, centered on bird watching, plant identification, fungi identification, insect collection and aquatic invertebrate collection;

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.:  Campus Farm tour, GIS mapping demonstrations, DNA barcoding demonstrations and polarizing demonstrations; and

1:30 – 2 p.m.: Wrap-up and summary.


Event parking will take place between the Early Childhood Center and Arts & Technology building on campus. Upon arrival, participants should report to the BioBlitz check-in tent. Participants can arrive and depart at any time during the event. Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather, wear comfortable shoes and supply their own water bottles.


For more information, contact Wrightsman at 756-3878 or at