Merck Forest to hold BioBlitz this weekend

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RUPERT — Merck Forest & Farmland Center's Biodiversity Project BioBlitz 2020 will be held Saturday and Sunday.

The free event allows anyone to be a citizen scientist for a day.

The public is invited to join naturalists at Merck Forest & Farmland Center for part or all of the two days exploring everything natural on the nearly 3,200 acres of forests, fields and waters.

Participation involves taking a photo of what you find and recording date, time, location and then uploading to iNaturalist via the app or web.

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Adapting to the times, this year's BioBlitz will take on a different form this year. The effort is being expanded to the whole weekend and the whole property, with special "Quests" available for the taking.

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Quests, of varying levels of challenge, will set participants up with a task and a map to seek out what may be found — or yet to be found across the property.

Organizers say the event will be fun, easy and safe, and that participants may move at their own pace.

There will be live displays of findings, maps and status updates on quests at the visitor center, visiting naturalists and Merck Forest staff on hand, and equipment available to borrow during the event, including: guide books, magnifying glasses, specimen jars (for photographing those hard to contain insects), bug nets, dip nets, buckets, moth light sheets and more.

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Disinfecting solutions will be available to keep all equipment clean.

To register, visit www.merckforest.org/event/bioblitz2020. COVID-19 protocols will be followed, including temperature checks, physical and social distancing and masks when necessary and appropriate.

For more information, contact tim@merckforest.org, visit www.merckforest.org/event/bioblitz2020 or call 802-394-7836.


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