By: RJ Franceschini, Follow South Jersey Intern
PITMAN, N.J. – The inaugural Pitman BioBlitz held on June 13, hopes to draw nature enthusiasts to Alcyon Park and bring people outside and into nature.
BioBlitz is an event that happens in many parts of the country, where people in the same community will come together and focus on finding and identifying as many specimens as possible. It is common to use an app called iNaturalist to log and identify species during the event.
Community outreach commissioner for Pitman Environmental Commission, Francesca Mundrick, was one of the main contributors to the creation of the BioBlitz. The event, which ran from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., brought in many guests including nature photography experts and environmental groups.
“This iNatrualist platform where everyday observations of ecology can be made and stored wherever you are in the world,” said Mundrick. “It allows for everyday involvement from any person and it allows an immense amount of data to be collected on ecology and biodiversity.”
Jeff Mollenhauer, a nurse, and member of the Gloucester County Nature Club, led two of the events for the day. One of which was the nature walk where mainly younger kids could walk around a trail and use the iNaturalist app to identify different plants and organisms along the way.
“There’s so much stuff just on the leaves,” said Mollenhauer. “The kids got really involved with the insects or the plants, it was a lot of fun.”
Mollenhauer also hosted with friend John Stippick a Moths Under Moonlight activity. This is where different species of moths would be identified later in the evening around the park as well as a few larger species that were caught locally the night before by the hobbyists.
“I think it’s really important to get the next generation interested in nature, and I think iNaturalist is a good way to do it,” said Mollenhauer. “It’s crazy how much stuff is out there that you don’t even realize is out there.”
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