Investigating Nature at Bioblitz 2023

Explore the “Wolf’s House” or “Alligator Pond” at a special nature education and data collection event

Bioblitz,” (short for “biological blitz") is an annual community science event that Kent State has been hosting since 2014. This year’s event is on Friday, April 21 was part of a full schedule of events during Kent State’s Earth Month celebration.

Michelle Escalambre, M.A., special assistant in Kent State’s Environmental Science and Design Research Institute (ESDRI), said “The Center for Ecology and Natural Resource Sustainability (CENRS), Environmental Science and Design Research Institute, and Department of Biological Sciences, along with their partners, are excited to host this event in person for the first time since the pandemic!”

Bioblitz student collecting water

Each year at this event, regional experts, faculty, students, staff, and the greater community are invited to explore one of KSU’s lesser developed properties. Together, the teams work together with environmental experts using “citizen science” to inventory and identify a variety of living things, such as insects, fish, terrestrial animals and avian species. A water quality lab will also be conducted.  

‘We are surveying all things biological and non-biological, rain or shine,’ said Escalambre.

Entering the “Dark and Spooky Forest”

The event took place at two Kent State properties, the CENRS Battaglia property near the Child Development Center (CDC) and the WKSU building on the east side of Loop Road and the White Hall Terrace site.  The event map of the Battaglia property was created by Jennifer Mapes, Ph.D., an assistant professor in Kent State’s Department of Geography.

Bioblitz 2023 Map

“Many of the places on the map were named by the children at the CDC, said Mapes. “Others were named by Lauren Kinsman-Costello's graduate students. The children often visit these places with Terri Cardy, who is their outdoor educator, as part of the CDC experience, which focuses heavily on nature and the outdoors. But as parents of children who went to the CDC, Lauren and I always use these names to identify these landmarks along the trail.” (Lauren Kinsman-Costello, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in Kent State’s Department of Biological Sciences.)

Addressing one feature that was named by the CDC children, Mapes said, “The ‘Dark and Spooky Forest’ is neither ‘dark’ nor ‘spooky,’ but it’s one of the children’s favorite places.”

“People can stop by the Bioblitz event to participate in the citizen science project which is open to the public,” said Escalambre. “Afterward, the information is compiled and assessed to establish baseline data, identify trends and guide future needs.”

Research at Kent State

Kent State is a strong supporter of S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and activities like Bioblitz that engage the community in science and research.  The high level of research activity involving faculty and students on Kent State's campuses has earned the university the prestigious R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. R1 status is the highest recognition that doctoral universities can receive, and Kent State is one of only five universities in Ohio to have earned it. At Kent State, students have the opportunity to participate in meaningful research, working side-by-side with university researchers, as early as their first year of classes.

POSTED: Thursday, April 20, 2023 02:32 PM
Updated: Friday, April 21, 2023 01:38 PM
Phil B. Soencksen