BioBlitz

The second annual Dedham BioBlitz took place on July 13 and July 14, 2012 at several locations around Dedham. Naturalists surveyed parts of the Dedham Town Forest, the forested area around Wigwam Pond, Fowl Meadow, East Dedham, and Wilson Mountain Reservation. Over 700 species of flora and fauna were observed during a 24 hour period.

Notably missing were many species that prefer moist habitats, including fungi, reptiles, and amphibians. Precipitation during the first half of 2012 was significantly lower than normal, resulting in less than ideal conditions for these organisms. However, we were fortunate to have a “grass and sedge” expert on the team this year, and she added many species to the Dedham list. There are hundreds of species of true grasses, sedges, and “grass-like” plants in New England, and it can be very difficult to distinguish the different species.

A list of the 2012 observations can be found here: 2012 BioBlitz observations

Dedham BioBlitz 2012 event flyer download PDF

2012 Survey Locations Announced! The following three locations will be the primary survey sites for the 2012 Dedham BioBlitz. These are very interesting places with a lot of interesting flora and fauna. Start times will be posted as they become available. Several people have expressed interest in starting early to beat the heat. Please contact Stephanie Radner by email (steph at dinosaur13 dot com) if you are interested in joining one of the teams, and I will keep you informed about start times and meeting places.

Dedham Town Forest

Wigwam Pond

Fowl Meadow

Wilson Mountain Meadow

New event added: Caterpillar and Moth Hunt in the Dedham Town Forest

Update: Due to an unforeseen schedule conflict, the Saturday morning bird walk has been cancelled.

About the Dedham BioBlitz

Teams of naturalists will visit the Dedham Town Forest, Fowl Meadow, and the wetlands around Wigwam Pond. A complete list of BioBlitz survey sites, along with maps, site descriptions, and schedule will be posted soon. Please check back for updates. If you are interested in joining a survey team (everyone is welcome to participate; you do not need to be an expert!), please email Stephanie Radner (steph at dinosaur13 dot com) and let me know your area of interest.

Press Release (July 4, 2012):

Dedham Natural Wonders will host the second annual Dedham BioBlitz on Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14, 2012 at the Dedham Parks and Recreation Building (Dolan Center) at 269 Common Street and at other locations in Dedham. The Dedham BioBlitz is an interactive event where members of the public can explore the outdoors along with naturalists to seek out species for identification. The goal is to find and identify as many species of flora and fauna as possible in 24 hours. During the 2011 Dedham BioBlitz, over 500 species were found and identified in less than 6 hours of surveying. This year, we hope to reach 1000 species during 24 hours. Naturalists will explore Dedham’s open spaces looking for plants, lichens, fungi, mammals, insects, birds, spiders, reptiles, and amphibians.

Dedham Natural Wonders was founded in 2011 by Dedham resident, Stephanie Radner. The program aims to increase awareness and promote stewardship of the biodiversity in Dedham’s open spaces through educational, recreational, and conservation programs. Nearly one third of the town of Dedham is open space, including approximately 900 acres of wetlands, 600 acres of woodlands, and hundreds of acres of parks and recreational space. Radner states, “Dedham has many beautiful open spaces with diverse flora and fauna and fascinating natural history. My goal is to document the biodiversity in Dedham, using current observations and recorded natural history, and to share this information with Dedham residents. I believe people are more likely to play an active role in conservation of our natural resources after they learn about and come to appreciate the diverse habitats and wildlife that can be found in Dedham.”

The Dedham BioBlitz will begin at 6:00PM on Friday, July 13 with a guided walk along the nature trails at NewBridge on the Charles. The public is invited to join the NewBridge community on this walk which will begin at the Rashi School on the NewBridge campus. Visitors may park in the Rashi School parking lot. “The walking paths throughout the NewBridge on the Charles campus are a treasure of biodiversity so we’re delighted that the Dedham BioBlitz seeks to help document that,” said Jane Baker, Community Relations Specialist for NewBridge. “The paths are open to local residents and neighbors throughout the year to take their own nature walk along the Charles River, the adjacent wetlands and through our woods and fields.”

The BioBlitz continues on Saturday July 14 at the Dolan Center with many programs scheduled between 10AM and 5PM. Dedham Natural Wonders and the Blue Bunny Books & Toys will co-sponsor a presentation by Melissa Stewart, award-winning author of more than 150 science books for children, at 11:00 AM. Melissa will sign copies of her books immediately following her presentation; a selection of her books will be available for purchase, including A Place for Frogs, A Place for Butterflies, and other titles. Melissa has always been fascinated by the natural world and is passionate about sharing its beauty and wonder with readers of all ages. She believes that nothing brings nonfiction writing to life like firsthand research. While gathering information for her books, Melissa has explored tropical rain forests in Costa Rica, gone on safari in East Africa, and swum with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands.

Also at the Dolan center, visitors can enjoy a Birds of Prey presentation from 1:00-3:00PM on Saturday July 14. The Blue Hills Trailside Museum will be bringing several birds of prey to the Dedham BioBlitz; birds whose habits usually make them impossible to see up close. A trained naturalist will handle the birds, give brief talks about each one, answer questions, and engage conversation with visitors. The Trailside Museum uses a collection of native, non-releasable wildlife to teach schoolchildren and families about the animals which live in their neighborhoods. The museum hopes that people who encounter these animals will respect and care for those that still survive in the wild.

There will be workstations set up throughout the day for plant identification using Go Botany, the new online field guide from the New England Wild Flower Society. Go Botany is an educational project funded by the National Science Foundation, designed to make the flora of New England accessible  and fascinating to everyone from beginners to experts.  Visitors can go on a scavenger hunt and join informal guided walks and talks along the Dolan Center’s nature trails. Several local conservation organizations will have information about the work they do, programs they offer, and volunteer opportunities. All educational programs and activities at the Dedham BioBlitz are FREE and open to all curious minds.

Teams of naturalists will explore different areas in town throughout the day on Saturday, including the Town Forest, Fowl Meadow, and the wetlands around Wigwam Pond. A map and schedule of survey sites will be published on the Dedham Natural Wonders website when it is finalized. All are welcome to meet up with naturalists at the different sites but should wear appropriate clothing and bring their own water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and should dress appropriately for each habitat. Detailed information about the survey locations will be posted on the Dedham Natural Wonders website.

The Dedham BioBlitz is possible due to the generous support of the Dedham Land Trust, a charitable organization formed in 1998 to preserve and protect the open spaces in Dedham. The Trust proposes to acquire and manage tracts of land for the benefit of the public: to acquire and protect conservation easements on fragile and otherwise valuable properties within the town. To accomplish their mission, the Trust seeks to work with town officials and private landowners towards a common goal of maintaining the special character of historic Dedham.

The Environmental Department and the Open Space and Recreation Committee of the Town of Dedham are also contributing partners for the Dedham BioBlitz. Virginia LeClair, Environmental Coordinator for the town states, “We are thrilled to be involved in the planning of this exciting and important event. The Dedham BioBlitz offers a unique opportunity for residents and visitors of Dedham to learn about biodiversity while discovering Dedham’s beautiful open spaces, wetlands, ponds, and forests. The inventory of species will be an important addition to future Open Space and Recreation Plans as we continue to catalogue our natural resources in Dedham.”