COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department is hosting a free Bioblitz on Friday, Aug. 27 until Sunday, Aug. 29 in the Stratton Open Space.
The event is being held in order to create a biological census of the area by finding as many different species as possible by way of guided hikes, family-friendly activity booths and more held throughout the weekend from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
Participants can met up on Saturday and Sunday at the Ridgeway Trailhead parking lot to learn more about the local scientific community, wildlife and plants in the Pikes Peak region. Participants should park at Cheyenne Mountain High School (1200 Cresta Road), where they will be shuttled to and from the Ridgeway Trailhead. Masks are required on the shuttle.
“The real beauty of a bioblitz is that it provides an opportunity for everyone in the community to get involved with science and experience a park or open space in a new way,” said Gillian Rossi, park ranger supervisor. “We look forward to working with citizen scientists to help better paint the picture of Stratton Open Space.”
Guided hikes begin Friday evening with a Bat Flight Hike from 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. near the South Suburban Reservoir to monitor bat acoustics. Daytime wildlife hikes will be offered on Saturday and Sunday including Beginner Birders, Bug Blitz and more. To find the full schedule for the hikes, register at this website.
For those who prefer to participate solo, download the iNaturalist app and note your observations in the open space. The free app maps and helps identify flora, fauna, and fungi. Take a photo or record and use the app to identify the species. All observations in the project area will be saved and stored for future analysis.
The Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program started hosting community bioblitzes in 2017 to get a snapshot of biodiversity within parks and open spaces. Eventually, these snapshots will be compared to reveal how the areas’ ecosystems are changing and can help with city infrastructure projects and other management. TOPS is a city sales and use tax that protects and preserves trails, open space and parks citywide. Since 1997, it has preserved nearly 7,200 acres of open space.
For more information on TOPS, visit this website.