Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host a BioBlitz event Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22 and 23, in the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St.
Elyce Rodewald, education coordinator for SFA Gardens, explained that a BioBlitz is an event in which teams of scientists and community members work together to find and identify as many species as possible of plants, animals, fungi and other organisms within a designated area.
Professors and students from the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture as well as the College of Sciences and Mathematics will lead participants through the 42-acre center to identify and document a range of organisms and species.
The event begins at 6 p.m. Friday with mammal identification led by Dr. Daniel Scognamillo, SFA associate professor of wildlife, followed by amphibian identification beginning at 8:30 p.m. led by Erin Childress, lab coordinator in the SFA Department of Biology. The final event of the night will be an 11 p.m. bat walk guided by the SFA student chapter of the Wildlife Society.
Saturday’s first session begins at 6:30 a.m. with a bird identification walk led by members of the Audubon Society followed by fungi identification at 8 a.m. with Dr. Josephine Taylor, SFA professor of biology; fish identification at 10 a.m.; and macroinvertebrate identification at 2 p.m. with Dr. Matthew McBroom, associate dean of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.
Event planners encourage those who attend to download the free iNaturalist app to document and upload their findings.
“iNaturalist allows people from around the world to document species observations that are then shared with scientific data repositories,” said Jessica Pruneda, a senior fire ecology major at SFA and BioBlitz event planner.
A number of other family-friendly, outdoor activities will also take place during Saturday’s sessions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The SFA Gardens’ Nacogdoches Naturally team encourages families to join them in making hand-cranked frozen yogurt, creating eco-art, using binoculars on a nature hike, fishing for “backyard bass” and other outdoor adventures.