Cuyahoga Valley National Park is looking for more than 1,100 volunteers to comprehensively catalog the plants and animals in the park.
The 24-hour BioBlitz kicks off at noon on May 20. About 70 scientists have signed up to lead the effort. The project is part of the National Park Service's centennial. Spokeswoman Jennie Vasarhelyi says it's the first BioBlitz in Northeast Ohio, and will help track the health of the ecosystem.
“With climate change, populations are changing. We tend to see more southern animals. So it can really help us document change going on in the ecosystem.”
Vasarhelyi adds that volunteers can do everything from walking the shores of the Cuyahoga looking for mussels to helping gauge the health of the river.
“There will be kick-netting for macroinvertebrates, the small creatures that live in water. And when you kick-net, you’re essentially kicking rocks and pushing the macroinvertebrates into nets. Macroinvertebrates are particularly helpful for understanding the health and quality of streams.”
Vasarhelyi says that she hopes the BioBlitz finds some species which have not been seen before in the park. The event runs along with the BioDiversity Festival, which features music, food and hands-on scientific exhibits.