HARRISBURG, Pa., May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scientists, naturalists and volunteers from across the state will gather May 20-21 at Sinnemahoning State Park, Cameron County, in an extensive effort to document the park's wide variety of life forms.
The goal of the event is to identify as many plants and animals as possible in day and night field exercises, popularly known within the scientific community as a "bioblitz."
"It's fitting to host this event in a park that's home to a new, state-of-the-art Wildlife Center," Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Richard Allan said. "When the final tallies are in from this 'bioblitz,' we will be able to make future resource management decisions based on scientific fact."
The research is being gathered in cooperation with a wide variety of regional governmental, educational and commercial entities. Biologists and naturalists will be finding and identifying mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, aquatic and terrestrial insects, fungi, mosses and many other species.
"Bioblitz findings will supply us with an invaluable snapshot of the biological wealth found in this park's 142-acre lake and its more than 1,900 acres," Allan said. "We are inviting the general public, private citizens, teachers, local high school students and university members to observe, interact and participate in sampling activities."
"We are hoping to learn as much as possible about the biological diversity of the area so that it can be properly conserved and managed, but this 'bioblitz' will offer much more," Allan said. "Beyond establishing baseline information, the event will give participants a chance to join biologists in the field; participate in bona fide research; and learn from experts about biological inventorying and the importance of biodiversity."
Rain or shine, activities will begin at the park's Wildlife Center at 8 a.m. Monday, May 20, and close at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 21. Participation is free, but pre-registration is requested.
Sponsors include: Dominion Foundation, Potter County and Cameron County boards of commissioners, Potter County and Cameron County conservation districts, League of Women Voters, and the Austin Dam Memorial Association.
This is the third event of its kind sponsored by DCNR. DCNR's first "bioblitz" was held in 2004, when almost 200 scientists, volunteers and onlookers combed fields and forests of then-newly acquired Erie Bluffs State Park along Lake Erie in Erie County. Kings Gap Environmental Education Center hosted a similar gathering in June 2012 on its 2,530 acres in Cumberland County.
A focal point of the PA Wilds region surrounded by Elk State Forest, Sinnemahoning is on the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning Creek and offers picturesque views of surrounding mountains and deep valleys. It is home to abundant wildlife, including nesting bald eagles, elk, and many birds and butterflies, many of which can be viewed from the Wildlife Center.
For more information on Sinnemahoning and Pennsylvania's other 119 state parks, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (select "Find a Park").
Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources