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BioBlitz Results Show the Wonders of South River Greenway

54 species of birds identified, among other findings

Crownsville, Md. (July 16, 2009) - A special report detailing the results of a "BioBlitz" in 547 acres of unbroken forest at Crownsville Hospital Center is now available online.

The survey was conducted on June 27 and June 28. While traffic sped along Interstate 97, over 50 scientists and volunteers gathered over a 24-hour period to spot, trap, net or identify by sound as many species of flora and fauna as possible within a given area.

"This endeavor affirms my commitment to land preservation and protection of the South River watershed," said County Executive John R. Leopold. "This incredible diversity of plants and animals demonstrates the importance of protecting extensive forests like those contained in the South River Greenway."

The plant seekers discovered over 100 species, noting an impressive diversity growing within a short walk from the interstate.

Participants from the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation & Parks, Scenic Rivers Land Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South River Federation, Smithsonian Institution, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, National Audubon Society, Maryland Native Plant Society and area universities accepted the challenge.

Experts led teams of volunteers into the forest and through streams to identify dragonflies, butterflies, fish, plants, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

"The information collected during the BioBlitz establishes the basis for a stewardship plan for this site," said Karyn Molines, Supervisor of Cultural Resources, "and experts will aid in identifying rare species that require special protection."

Birders helped identify 54 species, including worm-eating warblers, summer tanagers, and orchard orioles. The large unbroken acreage of this interior forest harbors a special group of birds: Forest Interior Dwelling Species. These birds arrive in the spring from Central and South America to breed during the summer.

Participants also logged 10 different fish, 6 kinds of reptiles, and 7 amphibians. Half a dozen mammals from beavers to white-tailed deer were recorded. Insects were the most abundant group, including 18 species of butterflies and 22 dragonflies. Gary Hevel, an entomologist from the Smithsonian Institution, estimated at least 300 additional species of beetles, flies, bees, moths were captured. He will identify these in his lab.

While this particular 24-hour BioBlitz challenge may have ended, the overall count on this land is an ongoing process. Additional work to identify less common species lay ahead.

"What an undertaking!" said Frank Marzucco, Director of Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation & Parks. "This brings back childhood memories of exploring in the woods. When is the next one?"

Detailed results of the BioBlitz and additional information can be found on the Department of Recreation and Parks website.


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