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May 2, 2005

BioBlitz Slated For June 4

How many species of animals and plants would you guess are living within a 2.5 mile radius of the Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford – 500? 1,000? More?

Find out on Saturday, June 4, during the 2005 Connecticut BioBlitz at Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, 337 East River Drive, East Hartford. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

The University’s Center for Conservation and Biodiversity will team up with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, the Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, the Science Center of Connecticut, and several other partners, to host this year’s BioBlitz.

The BioBlitz is part contest, part festival, part educational event, and part scientific endeavor. Scientists from UConn and other organizations gather to see how many species of animals and plants can be identified in 24 hours. Students from Two Rivers and other Connecticut schools will be involved as junior scientists.

The public can watch the scientists’ activities, attend presentations about biodiversity, speak with scientists and naturalists, participate in hands-on activities such as mammal skull identification, go on nature walks, and join in other nature activities.

More than 100 scientists will begin the species survey on Friday, June 3 at 3 p.m. in Great River Park. The surveyors will canvass the habitats found within a 2.5 mile radius of Two Rivers school, sampling the Connecticut and Hockanum rivers, floodplains, forests, freshwater ponds, open fields, and even industrial and other human-influenced areas.

“BioBlitz showcases the rich biodiversity found in Connecticut and underscores the positive impact that parks and open space have on our lives,” says Leanne Kennedy Harty, director of the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History. “It is an excellent tool for exciting children and adults about science.”

Participants expect to catalogue more than 1,500 life forms – all within a stone’s throw of the city of Hartford.

The past five BioBlitzes have yielded a number of scientific discoveries, rare species, and new state records for Connecticut.

“Each BioBlitz generates hundreds of specimens for teaching and research collections in the region,” says David Wagner, co-director of the Center for Conservation and Biodiversity at UConn, and this year’s lead organizer. “Though far from a rainforest, we will find splendid life forms – everything from eagles and largemouth bass to water bears, ant lions, bee wolves, and tiger beetles.”

For more information, visit or call 860.486.4460.