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December 04, 2016
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A BioBlitz comes to Ten Mile River Scout Camp

Mary Anne Carletta, left, Jack Barnett and Dave Wasilewski of the Wyoming Valley Mushroom Club were members of the team working to identify species of fungi collected by scientists, amateur naturalists and volunteers at the 2013 Upper Delaware BioBlitz. In the end, 51 species of mushrooms were identified.
Photos by Sandy Long

Next, it’s time to hit the books, to match the specimens we collected and brought back to the base camp to the correct scientific descriptions in our 200-plus pounds of books (all of which we really want to keep dry, and our microscopes, too!). While there may be as many as five million fungal species, out of the estimated 12 million or more total species currently living on this Earth, we’ll be happy to put proper scientific names on just 50 fungus species collected and identified during this event.

Twenty-four hours later, after not enough sleep, but two wonderful meals catered by local businesses, the public has arrived. Over 200 kids and adults join us to be inspired by nature and all the living beings that inhabit our beautiful region. We’re in a rush to try to find the correct names for the many as yet unidentified specimens we found yesterday and this morning. At noon the count has to be finalized.

By then, the sun has broken through the clouds. But faced with a rushing river overflowing its banks, we’re amazed that the aquatic teams managed to collect and identify 28 different species of fish, and 67 species of mussels, snails and other underwater creatures. Other teams have also identified many frogs and turtles, snakes and salamanders, mosses and lichen, birds and mammals. The botany team has identified 268 different plants and trees on the site. But the overall count leader is the terrestrial invertebrates team, with a grand total of 458 species of worms, flies, moths and other insects. And just ahead of the buzzer, we identify our 51st species of mushroom. Plus we had at least eight more specimens that we couldn’t match to a proper name.

Overall the teams identified over 1,000 species. Such bio-diversity is a good indicator of a healthy and vibrant natural environment. And, we had lots of fun, including many interesting walks and talks with others who love nature as much as we do. You will have lots of fun too, if you come to either (or both) of the two regional bioblitzes occurring in June 2014.

[June 20-21: The Monroe County Environmental Education Center’s 5th BioBlitz at the Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area in Tobyhanna Township, PA will be open to the public on Saturday, June 21. For more information, call the education center at 570/629-3061, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

June 28-29: The 2014 Upper Delaware BioBlitz will take place at the confluence of the Delaware River and Ten Mile River on the Ten Mile River Scout Camp near Narrowsburg, NY. The public hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 29. For more information, visit]