Northland College’s Chequamegon Bay BioBlitz offers science field tripsExperts in birding, botany, mammals and more will lead community members in collecting a barrage of information on the region’s diverse ecosystem this weekend during the Chequamegon Bay BioBlitz.
ASHLAND, Wis. – Experts in birding, botany, mammals and more will lead community members in collecting a barrage of information on the region’s diverse ecosystem this weekend during the Chequamegon Bay BioBlitz. The event, another offering in the Northland College Community Connections series, is free and open to the public.
The Chequamegon Bay BioBlitz is the brainchild of Northland College students Kristin Brunk and Peter Aerts. Centered on the Northland College campus, the event will feature experts in a variety of scientific fields who will lead field trips around the bay area. Tours will be conducted by area naturalists, ecologists, Northland College faculty and research scientists with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. TomFitz, associate professor of geoscience at Northland College, will lead a field trip to offer his expertise on soil and mineral deposits that support diverse ecosystems.
“As the glacial ice melted from the landscape in Northern Wisconsin 10,000 years ago, it left behind three different types of sediment – sandy sediments, clay-rich deposits, and mixed sediments. The soils that have formed on those three different types of sediment since the end of the ice age have very different characteristics and support different ecosystems,” Fitz said. “We’ll visit dry sandy soils and wet clay-rich soils to investigate how past glacial geologic history has influenced what is happening on the landscape today.”
The event will serve to aid area researchers and scientists with animal and plant species counts. Information collected during the event will be used to enhance wildlife and land management in the Ashland area. In addition, the BioBlitz will also help the community become more familiar with local flora and fauna in the Chequamegon Bay area, according to Ryan Brady, research scientist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
“I don’t think people realize how special the Chequamegon Bay area is from a biodiversity standpoint. There are so many different types of habitats that support a wide variety of plants, animals, and other organisms,” Brady said. “Our sense of place is so huge. If people have an understanding of what’s around them and feel a part of it, then they’re far more likely to protect and conserve the natural resources of the area.”
There are a limited number of spots available for the guided field trips. Pre-registration is preferred, but not required to take part. For more information on the two-day Chequamegon Bay BioBlitz or to register, go online to northland.edu/bioblitz.