University of Minnesota

2013 BioBlitz Pairs Enthusiastic Public with Scientists to Explore Mississippi River Restoration Site: Coldwater Spring

June 6, 2013

The Bell Museum of Natural History and the Mississippi River Fund invite outdoor enthusiasts of all ages to join scientists and researchers in a nearly nonstop 24-hour lineup of ecology activities and outdoor surveying at BioBlitz 2013!

This year, BioBlitz participants will descend upon Coldwater Spring. Using sonar detectors, bug lights, live traps, laptops, and their own eyes, they’ll find, count and chronicle the area's flora and fauna. This year the stakes are high. Information gathered will provide critical baseline data for the 92 acres of Coldwater Spring, which the National Park Service is restoring to an oak savanna prairie natural space. Since the demolition of a dozen abandoned Bureau of Mines buildings in 2011, the National Park Service has been restoring the property to a natural green space.

"This year’s BioBlitz is really unique—and cool—because we’re surveying a space that is in the midst of a huge transformation. Rather than a nature area that’s been untouched over the years, Coldwater Spring was once home to a busy office area, and is now being restored back to its natural state," shares the Bell Museum’s Jennifer Menken. Consequently, participants should dress for a more rustic experience than at previous BioBlitz events (see below).

BioBlitz begins Friday, June 14 at 5 p.m. and runs for 24 hours until Saturday, June 15 at 5 p.m. Throughout the 24 hours, participants will be able to choose from a wide selection of organized activities, or survey independently. A complete schedule of activities can be found online and below.

BioBlitz also welcomes a new partner—the Mississippi River Fund. "It’s awesome to have help and enthusiasm from Mississippi River Fund," says Menken. "They are so supportive of Coldwater Spring, and have helped make the destination possible."

Schedule of Events:

Friday Night, June 14

5 p.m.-dusk  Scientists set up and begin surveying, Ranger on site
8 p.m.  Evening animal survey: frogs and herps
9 p.m. Owl and nocturnal bird walk
9:30 p.m.  Insect walk
9 p.m. - 11 p.m.  Evening insect collecting

  Saturday, June 15

6 a.m. - 8 a.m.  Birding hike
6 a.m. – 8 a.m. Bird mist netting
8 a.m.  Mammal Survey: small mammals and herps
9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Pop-up exhibit of Coldwater artifacts and mementos
9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Ranger on site
9 a.m.  Fungi survey
10 a.m.  Fish survey
10 a.m. Plant survey
11 a.m. Dragonfly walk
11 a.m.  Water salk
Noon - 1 p.m.  Lunch break for scientists!
1 p.m.  Walk with a Ranger
2 p.m.  Dragonfly and Damselfly survey
4 p.m. -  5 p.m.  Species identification and number countdown!

Interested in participating? Register for free and get additional information online at

Coldwater Spring has less than a mile of gravel trail while the surrounding property has a mix of paved and dirt trails. Be prepared for uneven terrain. Bring your own sunscreen, insect repellent, drinking water and food. This is an all-weather event, so dress accordingly. We suggest you wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable for walking in tall grass. If you plan to participate in aquatic activities, be certain to wear clothing and footwear that can get wet.

The Bell Museum of Natural History is Minnesota's official natural history museum, where more than four million specimens support ongoing research and teaching at the U of M. The museum strives to discover, document and understand nature, and promote informed stewardship of our world. It is part of the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and serves more than 1,000,000 people a year through University classes and research, educational programs, exhibits, and online media


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