Scientists Descend on Riveredge Nature Center for Milwaukee Public Museum’s 5th Annual BioBlitz


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Scientists Descend on Riveredge Nature Center for Milwaukee Public Museum’s 5th Annual BioBlitz

Milwaukee—The Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) will host its fifth annual BioBlitz at Riveredge Nature Center on Friday, June 14 at 3 p.m. with a shotgun start. Dr. Ellen Censky, MPM’s Interim President & CEO, will lead a team of 71 scientists and surveyors from 12 organizations to conduct a 24-hour survey of 379 acres, including eight forest types; six pond, swamp and fen communities; prairies, trails and the famous 47-acre Riveredge Creek and Ephemeral Pond State Natural Area.

“We usually hear the word ‘biodiversity’ in regard to the rainforests with their vast number of species,” said Dr. Censky. “Yet the diversity of life in our own backyards is phenomenal. These past few years, our scientists have been able to assist Wisconsin parks and nature centers in learning more about the different species within them as well as collect specimens that will help future generations understand more about Wisconsin’s past and present.”

MPM’s BioBlitz series, which began in June 2015, has previously taken place in county parks and nature centers in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Dane Counties, where scientists have discovered over 1,000 species each year, including endangered plants and animals. As Riveredge Nature Center is prized by naturalists and biologists for its exceptional biotic diversity as well as being a protected habitat for endangered and threatened species, the scientists are expecting to find species they haven’t encountered at previous BioBlitzes.

"Since Riveredge's inception over 50 years ago, the Center's 379 acre sanctuary has always been a regional resource for scientific research, hosting more than 40 studies, projects, inventories, monitoring programs, surveys and other types of scientific investigations to date,” said Mandie Zopp, Director of Research & Conservation, Riveredge Nature Center. “MPM’s BioBlitz will not only further our understanding of what flora and fauna are using Riveredge as a resource, but will also allow us to collect biological data on populations that we may not have current data on. This event will also allow us to educate visitors on the importance of biodiversity and how we can manage the landscape for the wildlife that depends on it."

On Saturday, June 15, the public is invited to attend the BioBlitz Festival: A Celebration of Biodiversity from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees to this FREE celebration can:

  • Go pond-scooping and sweep-netting for insects, and bring the critters back to the tent to identify and draw.
  • Grab a trail map and explore Riveredge.
  • See scientists in action, and ask questions about what we’re learning about the plants and animals at Riveredge.
  • Do fun activities, crafts and more!

“Only 1 in 4 Americans knows a scientist,” Dr. Censky explains. “The BioBlitz Festival gives children and adults the opportunity to meet and talk with our scientists about their work as well as participate in fun and hands-on programming related to the natural world.”

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About the Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum is Wisconsin’s natural history museum, welcoming over half a million visitors annually. Located in downtown Milwaukee, the Museum was chartered in 1882, opened to the public in 1884, and currently houses more than 4 million objects in its collections. MPM has three floors of exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a rainforest, and a live butterfly garden, as well as the Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Dome Theater & Planetarium.

MPM is operated by Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc., a private, non-profit company, and its facilities and collections are held in trust and supported by Milwaukee County for the benefit of the public.