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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Teams up with Tennessee Valley Authority, Discover Life in America to Host Bioblitz

U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceSpringville, TN – On Saturday, May 16th, 2020 from 8:00am to noon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces they are teaming up with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Discover Life in America to host a BioBlitz at the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in north-central Tennessee. The refuge, considered a hotspot of biodiversity in this area, consists of 51,000 acres that stretch along 65 miles of the Tennessee River.

In an effort to conduct a concentrated survey of nature in a small area of the refuge, they are inviting the public to come participate in a family friendly, citizen science activity alongside many professional scientists.

BioBlitz at the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to be held May 16th.
BioBlitz at the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to be held May 16th.

This free event is open to the public and is a wonderful chance to learn about the animals, plants, and other organisms that live around the Refuge.

A BioBlitz is a short, intense team effort to survey as many different types of organisms as possible in one location, including plants, insects and other animals, fungi, and more.

BioBlitzes help Tennessee NWR to better manage its natural areas by knowing what species are present and by noting any species that should be monitored or controlled.

At a BioBlitz, members of the public become citizen scientists, helping to gather real scientific biodiversity data. It’s also a fun way to learn about local biodiversity and connect with nature, working side-by-side with regional scientists.

According to Joan Howe, Refuge Ranger at Tennessee NWR, “Anyone with no prior experience can participate in this free, family-friendly event and children are welcome! For example, imagine mist netting for songbirds, sloshing in the spring seeps for salamanders, using special equipment to catch and identify insects, or being able to identify any plant, wildflowers or mushrooms you see….and that’s just to name a few. It’s going to be a great morning with many, many different opportunities to be with scientists out in nature.”

Before the event, participants should register by May 13th at dlia.org/bioblitz-tnwr and should install and set up iNaturalist (a citizen science app) on their mobile device. Participants should also wear appropriate clothing and shoes for being out in the woods. Wearing tick repellent is also strongly suggested.

Experts will be on hand to guide participants and answer their biodiversity-related questions. Even after the BioBlitz event, anyone can contribute to this project by returning to Tennessee NWR or any of TVA’s other BioBlitz sites and recording new observations in iNaturalist. A list of sites can be found at www.inaturalist.org/projects/dlia-bioblitzes-with-tva

“Biodiversity keeps our world ticking! Without it, we are lost” says Will Kuhn, DLiA’s Director of Science and Research. “BioBlitzes are a great way to connect with your neighborhood flora and fauna and they’re really fun!”

The Tennessee NWR Visitor Center is located at 1371 Wildlife Drive, Springville, Tennessee.

As a preparation for the event, a special evening nocturnal event will be held on Friday May 15th from 5:30pm – 9:30pm, the Friends of Tennessee NWR will be hosting a special day just for Friends or Tennessee NWR members, refuge volunteers and staff families. To become a Friends member is cheap and easy, to inquire please call 731.642.2091.

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, and watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws


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