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Preview: Biology enthusiasts scour Lowndes County for creatures big and small

Scientists, naturalists, hobbyists and biology enthusiasts will be hunting for every last living and breathing creature in Lowndes County at a new event that kicks off Friday.

BioBlitz is a national program with the objective of engaging the public in biodiversity. The goal of participants is to discover as many species as possible in a location during a 24-hour time period.

Along with picking up this useful data, the event gives people the opportunity to explore nature while being led by specialists. This allows the participants to pick up new data, meet people and connect with the environment.

“Our core mission is to impact our region,” said BioBlitz organizer and VSU Biology Professor Dr. Emily Cantonwine. “One of the things we’re trying to do is increase the knowledge within our community of the importance of biodiversity.”

Cantonwine first discovered BioBlitz while teaching a study abroad course in Ireland.

“There would be different locations across Ireland, and they would compete for how many species each location can find,” Cantonwine explained.

The first BioBlitz Cantonwine participated in took place at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains, Georgia. Now, she has pulled strings to bring the event to the Valdosta community.

Being more of a fungus person, Cantonwine listed what species she hoped to discover at the BioBlitz event next week.

“I’m looking forward to finding earthstars, jelly fungi, stink horns, lichen and a whole bunch of fish as well,” she said.

Some familiar faces will be at BioBlitz. VSU Professor and Botanist Dr. Richard Carter will be present along with fellow Professor Brad Bergstrom, who specializes in ornithology.

Cantonwine also reached out to bring professors from other colleges and universities.

Dalton State College’s Mothman, James Adams, will be there along with University of Florida’s Mycologist Dr. Matt Smith.

VSU and Moody Air Force Base will conduct the inaugural Lowndes County BioBlitz from 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Grassy Pond Recreational Area, 5360 Grassy Pond Road in Lake Park, Georgia. You can stay updated at VSU’s BioBlitz Facebook Page.

Written by Gerald Thomas, Staff Writer. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay. 

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