Charlottesville, VA – A BioBlitz or biological survey will take place Saturday, April 16, on acreage in McIntire Park that will become the McIntire Botanical Garden (MBG) in the future, and volunteers are needed. The MBG Board, Rivanna Master Naturalists and Charlottesville’s Parks and Recreation Department are coordinating the activity.

During a BioBlitz, teams of specialists and volunteers find and identify as many plant species as possible and enter the information into iNaturalist, a free app for smartphones.

“The benchmark information that teams collect can be used in the future by the botanical garden to protect rare, native and desirable plants,” explained MBG Board member Lesley Sewell. “For example, we will know a plant’s exact location and can preserve it, if necessary, during the garden’s development by transferring it to a new spot. Data will help us to track trends in plant inventory and health and will be useful in creating maintenance schedules.”

Prior to the activity, volunteers should register with iNaturalist though the website inaturalist.org, download the iNaturalist app to a smartphone and become familiar with its use. Those without smartphones may walk with teams to observe and offer support. Sturdy, waterproof shoes are recommended for walking through brush and on uneven ground. The event is unsuitable for very young children and dogs, except service dogs.

To volunteer for BioBlitz, contact Master Naturalist Randy Page at wrpage01@gmail.com. Participants will assemble at 9:30 a.m. April 16 at the Melbourne Road entrance to the MBG, located across the street from Charlottesville High School’s football stadium and near the intersection of Melbourne and the John W. Warner Parkway. Parking is available along selected sections of Melbourne. Rain cancels the activity.

For more information, contact Lesley Sewell at sewellhorticulture@gmail.com or 434.326.2375.