Bioblitz coming to Wildcat Hills

GERING, Neb. — The public is invited to join the Wildcat Hills Bioblitz at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area on July 19-20.

The free event will allow participants young, old and in-between to discover and celebrate western Nebraska wildlife. A bioblitz is an event where members of the public become “citizen scientists” and work with biologists to survey a particular area, recording all plants and animals they can find and develop an accurate snapshot of the wildlife present in the area this time of year.

The Bioblitz will run from 6 p.m. Friday to noon Saturday, with the Wildcat Hills Nature Center serving as its headquarters. The event will open with a pizza dinner and nature photography session Friday night, which is free but requires an RSVP and notification of any dietary restrictions. The second day’s activities will get underway at 8 a.m. with a birding survey, followed by plants, insects and reptiles.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to participate in as little or as much of the bioblitz as they like. Visitors seeking information will find a map of activities and an updated tally of species at the group event facility. Vehicles are required to have a Nebraska Park Entry Permit, but the event is otherwise open to the public free of charge.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is hosting the Bioblitz, in coordination with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. The Nebraska Environmental Trust is providing funding.

To RSVP contact the Nature Center at 308-436-3777 or ngpc.wildcat.hills@nebraska.gov.

The schedule:

Friday, July 19: Dinner (RSVP required) 6 p.m.; Nature photography 6:30 p.m.; Sunset hike 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 20: Birding 8 a.m.; Plant hike 9 a.m.; Insects 10 a.m.; Reptiles 11 a.m.