Celebrate Earth Day at the Tandy Hills BioBlitz April 22-23
Grab your smartphones and walking shoes and come celebrate Earth Day this weekend by participating in the BioBlitz at Tandy Hills Natural Area April 22-23.
The event kicks off at 6 a.m. on Friday, April 22 and runs until 6 p.m. Saturday, April 23 at the Tandy Hills Natural Area. Particpants should enter through the main entrance at 3400 View Street, Fort Worth 76103.
During the 36-hour, around the clock BioBlitz, biologists and nature enthusiasts, both professional and amateur from across the country, will be observing and documenting the Fort Worth plant and insect species that are native to the Tandy Hills indigenous prairie lands. They’ll be looking for everything from ants, bats, birds, butterflies and moths to grasshoppers, plants, fungi, small mammals, snakes, lizards and ticks.
“It is remarkable and rare that this prairie land, right in the heart of the Metroplex, has never been plowed or developed,” Bruce Benz, professor of biology and project coordinator, said. “You don’t need experience as a biologist to join us – everyone is welcome to take part in this extraordinary opportunity to research land that hasn’t been impacted by development.”
Volunteers needed, all ages
Volunteers are needed to participate in the fun, outdoor, educational opportunity for the entire family. Experience is not required, but volunteers need to bring their charged smartphone, and it is recommended that the iNaturalist mobile app is downloaded prior to arrival.
Volunteers will check in BioBlitz Headquarters located at the trail head 200 meters north of the entrance located at 3400 View Street. Parking availability will be marked along View Street, Tandy, Ben, Lewis and Sanderson Avenues and Meadowbrook Drive. Volunteers with cellular devices will be trained to use iNaturalist. They will be provided with maps of Tandy Hills and introduced to experts and citizen science leaders that will help direct the various surveys.
iNaturalist is a new application with geo-referenced photographs and sound recordings that BioBlitz participants will use to document the plant and animal life observed in Tandy Hills. Volunteers will take photographs of their findings, upload the photo to the app, and the app will identify and record the findings.
This inventory, once posted to iNaturalist’s scientific data repositories, will facilitate discussions by fellow naturalists. The scientific data gathered during the BioBlitz will help biologists manage the Tandy Hills' biological diversity for years to come.
“These are important times,” Benz said. “February 2016 is the most unusually warm month ever measured globally and the most unusually warm month ever measured. Thus, this is an auspicious time for conducting a BioBlitz on this remnant prairie that witnessed the arrival of the earliest settlers to Fort Worth.”
The BioBlitz is funded by a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas License Plate Conservation Grant that was awarded to Texas Wesleyan and the Friends of Tandy Hills.
Tandy Hills Natural Area
Tandy Hills Natural Area, located off of I-30, five minutes east of downtown Fort Worth, is a remnant prairie representing the eastern extent of the Cross Timbers and Prairies ecoregion of Texas. Harboring an exceptional variety of North Central Texas flora and fauna, THNA was obtained by the City of Fort Worth in the 1960s to conserve the area’s unique biological diversity and provide multiple use options for the general public.
For more information about Bioblitz, contact Bruce Benz.