Adirondack Bio-Blitz

January 3, 2013

An Adirondack bio-blitz was held in the village of Saranac Lake and surrounding areas on the weekend of July 14-15, 2012. This was a follow-up to the initial one held in 2010 in the Follensby Pond tract of the Nature Conservancy. Participating in the survey , which was coordinated by Dr. David Patrick of Paul Smiths College, were other area universities (SUNY Potsdam and Newcomb ESF), DEC, APA, and High Peaks Audubon as well as a number of experts in various fields of taxonomy. Amateurs were invited to participate also.

A bio-blitz catalogues all the living organisms in a defined geographical area. Included in this one were plants, fungi, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, butterflies and dragonflies. This initiative to determine what is present in the Adirondack Park is modeled after a federal program in Great Smoky National Park. Due to the relative remoteness of our Park many of the life forms existing here have not been adequately identified.

The underlying theme of the bio-blitz is that we must have a better understanding of what is actually present before we can protect fully the biodiversity of the Adirondack Park. This effort will be an ongoing process and volunteers are encouraged to participate.

It was my pleasure to participate in this second Adirondack Bioblitz which was restricted to the hamlet of Saranac Lake and its immediate surroundings. The thrill of partaking in a cataloguing of the wonderful multiplicity of life forms resident in the Park was once again manifest from the beginning. A surprising number of faunal and floral species were discovered in and adjacent to the village. Included were four species of salamander and numerous species of butterflies among others. While these are more elegant than the moose, bear and coyote “sign” discovered in the first bioblitz, they attest to the startling variety of life forms present and also to the inescapable fact that all are necessary to have the wheel of nature revolve in the Adirondack Park.

The highlight of the day was reached when I was able to capture temporarily a Hairy-tailed Mole and exhibit it for all on that trip to see and wonder at!

About the author. Peter O’Shea, a board member of PROTECT, is a self-trained naturalist, writer and long-time proponent of protected areas large enough to support the Adirondack native carnivores. He has led natural history hikes for many years and written books on the wildlife of the northwest area of the Park where he lives in the hamlet of Fine.

September 2012

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