Posted on June 23rd, 2010 Add a comment >>
On Friday, 19 June, over 50 science-loving-mud-seeking-water-diving-naturalist-types found themselves giddy w/pleasure at being the first public group to investigate the natural world of a 14,600 acre Adirondack Nature Conservancy property near Tupper Lake.
Taking about one year to plan and coordinate, the gates to Follensby Pond were finally opened to this select group of Naturalists, Researchers and Educators as they begin to inventory as a much as they can of the living world around them-in 24 hours….aka…a “Bioblitz”!
Yours truly was handed the task of coordinating the survey of all birdlife on the property during the 24 hours. After choosing a great crew of birders we all set out on our given paths and started listing birds that we see and hear.
After all the data sheets were handed back in, and then tallied, and re-tallied just to make sure!, we ended up with a species count of 75-not bad for 24 hours.
All the credit goes to the brave (for there were lots of blackflies and mosquitoes!) lads and lasses that endured the beating sun, the fresh summer breezes, the refreshing waters, and the startlingly beautiful scenery around us….OK, it was pretty darn nice out there but we did fight some bugs to count all our species.
An early count of around 280 species of various organisms were tallied by the end of the 24 hours but many organisms still have yet to be identified due to similarities w/other species or details that can only be seen under lab conditions. For example, many dragonflies and damselflies can only be identified under microscopes and the same goes for many species of mushroom and some sedges that were found. Also many aquatic and terrestrial insects needed to be taken to a lab for further investigation.
The deep interest levels that all 50 of us shared that day was very evident. As we slowly filtered our way back to “base camp” to break for lunch, or tally up species, many colleagues were asking, “What’d you find? Anything unexpected?”. Or if a crew spotted something out of their own specialty area they would tell others all about it.
A wonderful sense of camaraderie filled the 24 hours as each taxonomic group performed their work. Many would gather at the tote board to see what new species were collected or identified.
A tip of the hat goes to The Adirondack Nature Conservancy who’s tireless work and coordination allowed for all of this data collection to occur. Of historical note, all this data was gathered on a piece of property that was once visited by Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russel Lowell, Louis Agassiz, William James Stillman, and other great minds of the day. This “gathering” of minds took place on Follensby Pond during the month of August in 1858, and became known as Philosopher’s Camp. They also named the camping area “Camp Maple”.
As we walked the woods or followed the shoreline, we all had, in the back of our minds, a developing picture of what it may have felt like to walk these woods back then and perhaps to discuss nature with them.
Photo Credit: Bioblitz tote board- Brian McAllister