Category Archives: events
Tentative dates and locations for Berkshire BioBlitz 2016 are Saturday June 18-Sunday June 19, 2016. This year’s bioBlitz will take place at the base of Mt. Greylock and is sponsored by the Berkshire Environmental Action a Team, BEAT, the Massachusetts Geological Alliance and Dr. Augie’s.
If you would like to learn about the natural history of Berkshire County, this is the course for you. We will be exploring the natural world of birds, bugs, mushrooms, lichens, reptiles, amphibians, algae and so much more. There will be experts and naturalists along the way to show us how we can tell if a bird has a nest of eggs or how a little beetle larva can devour a bull frog. And we will be checking out some specimens that are not natural to the Berkshires–the invasives.
Sponsoring Organizations: MCLA, Cornell University, Dr. Augie’s Science Programs
Course Location: Pittsfield/Lanesborough
Schedule: July 5-8, 2016
Time: 8am to 5pm
Cost: $250 for 4 days, $125 for 2 days
Youth and adults over the age of 16 and science educators who teach 6-12th grades or the general public.
You can participate for 4 days or 2 days. I promise all days will be fun and exciting learning experience.
Instructor: Lisa Provencher, M.S. Entomology. B.S. Environmental Science, co-instructors, Scott LaGreca Ph. D. Botany, John Wheeler, Berkshire Mycology Society.
Throughout this course we will meet with scientists and local naturalists as we explore and learn about the natural world in which we live. The course will include several ways everyone can contribute to science including programs such as: Citizen Science, biodiversity days and the fast and furious bioblitz.
When given the opportunity to observe nature deeply, people of all ages often develop an in-depth understanding of the importance of environmental and ecological issues that impact their lives and the lives of those who will live on this earth after us. The purpose of this course is to cultivate a community of well informed, educated, and concerned teachers, who will foster within their students a passion for the natural world.
The curriculum will afford educators and all who attend the opportunity to learn about the natural history of local plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and archaea through inquiry and observation. These topics can also be integrated with math, history, language arts and social studies. Given the current concern with global climate change. We must recognize that all living things, not just humans, represent part of the existing biodiversity. It is crucial that we, as informed citizens of this planet, are able to recognize and identify living organisms and understand that they almost certainly hold solution to biodiversity loss and the key to global sustainability.
Today the weather was perfect- for catching frogs. Dr. Augie’s set up a gig with the Boy Scout camp exploring the stream by the camp. Unfortunately the path to the stream was bordered in poison ivy. So plan B went into action. I hiked over to another part of the stream and found some neighborhood kids, and asked them to catch me some frogs. They were happy to oblige. I even put on the water boots and did some collecting myself.
We were amazed by the caddisfly larva on the bottom of the stream, thousands of them. We scooped some out and put them in bowls. The bowls were writhing with larva. Very fun to watch. We caught one mayfly naiad, a dragonfly larva, and two species of water striders. We did see lots and lots of watercress. The kids told me that the water in the stream this spring was roaring, but then the watercress grew in and slowed it down. Great observation.
Back to the Boy scouts (there were girls there too! with the Venture Scouts.) When I arrived the group was waiting their turn with target practice and didn’t seem to interested in frogs. (I know how cool is that, you get to shoot BB guns during camp.) But the frogs were jumping and diving in their container making themselves pretty darn interesting. Then I showed them the container of stream organisms and there were lots of questions and answers and looking at the aquatic keys to see what they were looking at. No leaches they decided, to their disappointment. They did key out the frogs as ‘mink frogs’ (Lithobates septentrionalis).
After everyone had their fill of observing, three boys walked over and braved the path of poison ivy so we could release the frogs. They seemed content to be back in the swampy stream.
A big thank you goes out to everyone who participated in the Berkshire BioBlitz 2015! Tallies are still coming in and Scott LaGreca is compiling them as you read this. Meanwhile you can check out Tom Murray’s 2015 Berkshire BioBlitz insect list and identifications.
One weird find were these mushrooms called “Dead Man’s Fingers”, but these were clumped together forming “paws”.