10.14.2009

BioBlitz!

There is not an exclamation point at the end of "BioBlitz." At least not that I am aware of. But in my world, something that sounds as exciting as BioBlitz should end in an exclamation point, don't you think? So, since it's my birthday, I have decided it will have an exclamation point.

I spent all last Saturday at BioBlitz! for my ecology class. BioBlitz! was an all-day biological sampling at Emiquon.

And when I say biological sampling, I mean I spent a good portion of the day in waders in freezing cold water digging around for plants and animals with my bare hands. Yes, really.

This is the area where I spent my time in the water. And no, I don't mean that puddle in the parking lot. Although I'm sure there's a wealth of biological life there to0.

(Also, doesn't it look exceptionally warm? Trust me, it was. My hands were numb for about 3 hours after.)


(There are some photos of me in said waders floating around, but I don't have one yet. I'll share if I find one. Maybe.)

Emiquon, which is located near Havana here in lovely Central Illinois, is a giant floodplain restoration project (we're talking almost 7,000 acres)—one of the largest outside of the Florida Everglades, in fact. Here's a photo of a small portion of it from a bluff we climbed after we dried off and ate lunch:


Emiquon used to be a system of backwater wetlands and lakes full of native plants and animals (plus there are a lot of archaeological sites, such as Native American villages and burial grounds, in the area). But, as is so common in the Midwest, the land was eventually parceled up and dried out in order to be used as farmland. Only now, the area is gradually being restored.


(These are some of the aforementioned burial mounds, which don't show up so well in the photo. It's also a trail now.)

The project is funded by The Nature Conservancy, and UIS as well as other universities are involved in the work being done at Emiquon on an ongoing basis, which is why we spent the day there studying the plants (prairie grasses as well as aquatic plants) and animals (particularly birds and invertebrates in the water).

All in all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday, eh?

1 comment:

Nikki said...

I'm so jealous! Really. I miss that stuff. Sigh, it looks lovely! Let's get that wader pic up! :)