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Wednesday, June 24

Invitation to Cranbrook's BioBlitz

We would love your help! 

The Cranbrook Education Community and the Organization for Bat Conservation are organizing a BioBlitz on Cranbrook grounds in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan on August 7-8, 2015. We are currently recruiting field biologists, naturalists and taxonomic experts to participate in the BioBlitz, and would love for you to join us! We would greatly appreciate your help during the BioBlitz event. The main goal is to provide opportunities for the public to interact with scientists and discover biodiversity right here in Southeast Michigan. We will have a mix of live animal programs, discovery stations, in the field explorations that give visitors a chance to see research methods in action, and special exhibits and presenters.

A Bioblitz is a unique combination of taxonomic inventory, public outreach, and science education. At its core, the Bioblitz is a species inventory in which teams of volunteers, each led by an expert scientist, find, identify, and map as many species as possible within a 24-hour period. While the inventory is not exhaustive, it can nevertheless yield valuable biogeographic information. With your expert help we have the opportunity to greatly extend scientific (and public) understanding of biodiversity on Cranbrook’s unique urban landscape. Recent BioBlitzes have revealed new species of insects and bacteria in the middle of city parks! New county records and other indices of species distribution are also common.

Cranbrook is one of the world’s leading centers of education, science, and art. Comprising a graduate Academy of Art, contemporary Art Museum, House and Gardens, Institute of Science, and Pre-K through 12 independent college preparatory Schools, Cranbrook welcomes thousands of visitors and students to its campus each year. In 1904, Detroit philanthropists George and Ellen Booth purchased a run-down 174-acre farm in Bloomfield Hills, named it Cranbrook after the English town the Booth family hailed from, and immediately began improving the property by laying in roads, grading hillsides, creating lakes, erecting farm buildings and initiating a massive planting campaign to cover the barren rolling terrain. Today, Cranbrook’s 319-acre campus features the work of world-renowned architects. Critics have called Cranbrook "the most enchanted and enchanting setting in America" and in 1989, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

We invite scientists to sample biota living in aerial, vegetation, surface, soil/sediment and aquatic habitats, creating a three-dimensional understanding of biodiversity across the suburban woodland landscape. The success of a BioBlitz depends greatly on the knowledge and enthusiasm of the participating scientists. We anticipate including members of the public in activities such as visual surveys of macro-biota, live-trapping small animals, identifying bats with ultrasonic sensors, mist-netting, light and pitfall-trapping arthropods, netting aquatic invertebrates, and the like. 

What would you suggest we do to survey your favorite/focal taxon? Will you join us and lead a small team to accomplish that? 

We also seek scientists and naturalists interested in gathering environmental and habitat information. Concurrent with the BioBlitz inventory, we will host a Biodiversity Festival, which will include public presentations about biodiversity, demonstrations of field technology, live animal programs, and exhibits ranging from global biodiversity to local nature photography. A BioBlitz is a wonderful opportunity for scientists to involve the public in hands- on field work while collaborating with other scientists and land management agencies and learning about possibilities for future research at Cranbrook.

We hope very much that you will join us for all or part of our BioBlitz. Your participation in this festive “species marathon” will help make it a valuable study of biodiversity patterns, and will contribute immeasurably to inspiring the next generation of biologists and stewards of local habitats.

Keeping in mind that most of the people attending the BioBlitz will be families, please let me know how you and your colleagues would like to be involved. We are still looking for help Friday Aug 7th to lead night explorations (moths, spotting, etc) and Saturday Aug 8th has openings to lead explorations focused on trees, amphibians, birds, etc. You are also welcome to set up an educational display and provide an activity. 

Looking forward to hearing back from you!

Rob Mies, Executive Director
Organization for Bat Conservation
@ Cranbrook Institute of Science
39221 Woodward Ave.: PO Box 801
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303

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