When Trinis look at bush, what do we see? Space for a new dream home? A dengue-infested swamp? Bamboo that needs cutting for a faster route to work? More evidence of CEPEP slacking?
As a nation developing quickly, it is often too easy to see bush as something that is in the way, instead of an important part of our daily lives. Knowing and valuing “wha’ it have in de bush” can help us understand that hasty development comes at a price we may not pay until later. Until, for example, our houses are buried in mud from where bush was cleared on the hillside above.
When you know what to look for Trini bush is an amazing place full of weird and wonderful life. A BioBlitz is a fun and exciting way for experts and the public to learn what is living in a particular piece of bush. It’s an exciting race against the clock where teams have 24 hours to record as many different species of plants and animals as possible. Mike Rutherford, Curator of the University of the West Indies Zoology Museum and his super team are having another BioBlitz starting from 11am on Saturday 21st September to 12.00 pm to Sunday 22nd September. People who know what to look for (scientists, experts and nature enthusiasts) will be gathering at the world renowned Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC) for another round of Bioblitzing. It is the second BioBlitz to be held in Trinidad and Tobago, the first was successfully held in Tucker Valley in 2012. Last year, experts were joined by over 200 members of the public who came for guided walks, fun nature activities and to watch the scientists work and to learn something about our beautiful Trini bush. The BioBlitz is being sponsored once again by First Citizen’s Bank.
Activities for Bioblitz 2013
Under the watchful eye of an expert and assistants, people will be organised into several teams, each focusing on different species or habitats. If you are a fellow reptile lover, join Team Reptile and Amphibian on exciting day and night searches for snakes, lizards and frogs. If you have always been a bird lover, Asa Wright is a perfect place to explore with fellow team mates as you race against the clock.
Teams are not limited to just birds and reptiles. Teams/groups include Mammals, Freshwater (Fish, Aquatic Insects, Crustaceans), Molluscs, Spiders and other Arachnids, Butterflies and Moths, Social Insects, Myriapods (millipedes/centipedes) and Worms, Flowering Plants, Ferns, Lichens, Orchids and Fungi. Each group will be briefed on how to find and record their target species or survey their chosen habitat.
One of the coolest features from last year’s BioBlitz was the base camp. This year the base camp will be set up at Asa Wright and general public can immerse themselves into a naturalist world. Here is where all the cool gadgets and sciency stuff will be housed. One will find an assortment of nets, lights, tables, microscopes, guide books, terrariums, computers and collecting and processing equipment that will assist the scientists in their work. Aquariums will be set up for displaying freshwater animals. There will be numerous opportunities to get involved, chat with fellow nature lovers and be amazed by our wonderful wacky world we are part of. Don’t want to get too hands on? There will also be Informational displays by various groups including the Trinidad and Tobago Filed Naturalist Club, UWI Zoology Museum, Asa Wright Nature Centre and Wildlife Division.
Join us for BioBlitz 2013 at Asa Wright Nature Centre. Find updates on facebook (Arima Valley Bioblitz 2013). For more details contact Mike Rutherford at email@example.com or 1868 329 8401
Edited version Published in the Trinidad Express column, Healthy Happy Animals, Healthy Happy Communities - 12th Sept 2013
Healthy, Happy Animals - Healthy, Happy Communities