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The Soapstone Prairie BioBlitz

What's a BioBlitz? It is a 24-hour, all species count! The BioBlitz was part contest, part festival, part educational event, part scientific endeavor. The Soapstone Prairie BioBlitz brought together scientists from across Northern Colorado in a race against time to see how many species they can count in 24-hours. Everyone was invited to observe the scientists' activities, to interact with them, and to participate in fun, family-friendly activities sponsored by the Fort Collins Natural Areas Program. The BioBlitz happened on June 27, 2009.

From plants to bugs to mammals to birds- we counted 'em all! Ten scientist teams inventoried insects (spiders, beetles, bees, wasps, leafhoppers, grasshoppers, butterflies, moths and aquatic invertebrates) bats, large mammals, small mammals, plants, fungi, birds, reptiles and amphibians. At the end of 24 hours, 681 species had been counted! Citzens came to Soapstone Prairie and watched the data roll in, attended presentations by experts, participated in fun family-friendly activities and explored the biodiversity of Soapstone Prairie.

Why did we do it?

  • Raise Awareness of Biodiversity- Sometimes we think of biodiversity as a term that only applies to exotic rainforests, far away. At the Soapstone Prairie Bioblitz everyone was amazed by the huge biodiversity so close to home! We take for granted clean water, fertile soil, and air to breathe. Yet these are all the result of working ecosystems filled with species that perform these tasks. From our morning shower to our late night snack, we are supported by biodiversity every minute of the day.
  • Connect to Nature- The excitement and energy of the scientists from many disciplines working together was infectious! Everyone rallied around a single common goal. Participants caught the excitement of the scientists as they returned after surveying for 24-hours and reported on where they went and what they found.
  • Generate Data- The BioBlitz generated a list of species found at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. Some species that should be monitored or controlled were identified. The BioBlitz identified unique aspects of Soapstone Prairie that might otherwise would not have been known. This information will be used by the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program to manage the site. Imagine the cost of hiring over 50 experts to conduct a survey? All the scientists donated their time, about 550 hours- thank you!!
  • Celebrate!- Soapstone Prairie is a very special place, participants celebrated the unique biodiversity and learned how to help.

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