Biology students, faculty plan 'BioBlitz' for Earth Day at Tickfaw State Park
Contact: Christina Chapple
HAMMOND – In recognition of Earth Day, graduate students in Southeastern Louisiana University’s Department of Biological Sciences will conduct a “BioBlitz” – an all-species inventory – at Tickfaw State Park.
The event, organized by graduate students Tiffany Schriever and Devin Bloom, will bring together faculty and student scientists from Southeastern, Tulane, Loyola, the University of New Orleans and Louisiana State University in a race to identify as many of the park’s species of flora as possible in a 24-hour biological survey.
The BioBlitz is scheduled for Sunday, April 22, at the park, located on Patterson Road, west of Springfield.
“This is a full day event of identifying every species we can possibly find to compile a species list for the park,” Schriever said. While a core group of biology graduate students will conduct the survey, she said community volunteers are welcome to join in.
“This would be a great opportunity to hone identification skills, enjoy the outdoors, and learn about different groups that you may not have been exposed to,” she said. “If you enjoy walking, if you enjoy nature, if you’re inquisitive, then this is for you.”
The park’s Nature Center will act as the “base camp,” a centralized location where scientists will identify species and maintain the official species list, and where tools such as microscopes, computers, and other collecting equipment will be located.
“Each major taxonomic group will have an assigned expert who will be responsible for confirming ID’s and keeping a tally of species observed,” Schriever said. “Grad students and other volunteers will assist the expert by collecting specimens.”
Participating faculty members include, from Southeastern, Biological Sciences Department Head David Sever, Cliff Fontenot, Kyle Piller, Rick Miller, Thais Perkins, Ginger Kraemer, and Tiffany McFalls; from LSU, Dave Brown, and, from Loyola, Craig Hood.
Volunteers who would like to assist with the BioBlitz can contact Schriever or Bloom at 985-549-3008.