Get your hands dirty at Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge for this natural area’s first-ever Eco-Blitz from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. What’s an Eco-Blitz, you ask? It’s one-day event to document as many species as possible with the help of experts in different fields…and you! The event is free and open to all ages, and no experience is necessary, just a natural curiosity and a desire to help. Snacks and beverages will be provided.
The information collected from this event will be used as a baseline for what species currently live in Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge, important knowledge to have before beginning the refuge’s large restoration project scheduled to take place in 2019. It’s a “citizen scientist”-led treasure hunt to discover living organisms! Teams of volunteers will develop a “snapshot” of biological information in the refuge by counting and identifying plant and animal species using the iNaturalist app, cameras, and field guides. Brief training in species recognition will be provided, as will basic training on the iNaturalist app. Groups will be accompanied by scientists from many regional research and conservation organizations.
Even though it’s free, registration is required at Eventbrite or by clicking here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/steigerwald-lake-nwr-eco-blitz-tickets-33912550351?aff=eac2. Volunteers dress for the weather and bring water, sunscreen, bug repellent, hats, good walking shoes, and a smart phone or a camera. You definitely don’t need to stay for the whole day; you can sign up for one or more shifts/walks to search for specific kinds of plants, animals, and insects. Here’s the schedule:
- 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.: birds
- 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.: mammals
- 10 a.m. to noon: insects
- noon to 2 p.m.: reptiles and amphibians
- noon to 2 p.m.: plants
- 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.: bats and moths
Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located within the Columbia Gorge National Scenic area on the east end of Washougal at 35001 Lewis and Clark Hwy. (that’s Hwy. 14 to the locals). The event is hosted by Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards and the US Fish and Wildlife Service with support from other local agencies and nonprofits. For more information about bio-blitzes, check out this link http://nationalgeographic.org/projects/bioblitz/ and this great video of the Forest Park bio-blitz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hV_tvnbWJ8.