BGSU helps students study, protect natural habitats with BioBlitz

For the second year in a row, Bowling Green State University will teach local fifth and seventh graders how to study and preserve natural habitats in their area with BioBlitz BG at 9 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday at Wintergarden Park prairie.

Hosted by the Northwest Ohio Center of Excellence in STEM Education in the BGSU College of Education and Human Development, the free environmentally-focused event will help students from Bowling Green City Schools and Washington Local Schools learn how to observe and protect nature as citizen scientists.

During BioBlitz BG, students will document as many living organisms as possible — both plants and animals — found in the park and tally their results. Students will also track migrating monarch butterflies and research insects and other creatures. Their findings will then be uploaded to the iNaturalist platform, a learning application used for scientific data collection and conservation.

Students will also observe clouds and measure air, surface and soil temperatures to compare prairie habitats. The data will then be uploaded to the Global Learning and Observation of the Environment program database and shared with scientists who use GLOBE data to monitor Earth’s conditions.

“We are thrilled to offer this type of outdoor learning event once again for students to participate as citizen scientists,” said Jodi Haney, professor emeritus of science and environmental education at BGSU and GLOBE master trainer. “With help from BGSU and early and inclusive childhood education undergraduates, students will collect and share environmental data to help monitor and sustain our planet”.

Emilio Duran, professor and director of NWO STEM at BGSU, said he’s also excited to expand BioBlitz BG to even more students in its second year.

“We are pleased to grow this event and offer it to an additional school this year,” Duran said. “STEM education and inquiry-based learning are important as ever and engaging young students in this type of activity is part of our mission.”

With support from the Lubrizol Corporation, NWO STEM at BGSU is partnering with the Toledo Zoo, Xcite Learning and Bowling Green City Parks for this year’s BioBlitz BG.