14th Annual Berkshire Biodiversity Day
EGREMONT, Mass.— Celebrating local biodiversity during a time of unprecedented global biodiversity loss, the 14th Annual Berkshire Biodiversity Day (also known as Berkshire BioBlitz) welcomes community members of all ages to join biologists, naturalists, and environmentalists to identify as many plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms as possible during a 24-hour period.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from noon on Saturday, Sept. 23, to noon on Sunday, Sept. 24, at Greenagers' April Hill Education and Conservation Center, 62 N Undermountain Rd, South Egremont. Participants may take part at any time during this period to record a survey of their findings and experience first-hand the importance of a healthy, active ecosystem in their community.
This year's program will have guided walks, presentations, and demonstrations led by experts. Presentation topics include: leaf-mining insects from Charley Eiseman, fungi and mushrooms from John Wheeler, and arachnids from Joseph Warfel. Aliza Fassler will present about native bees and lead a wild bee walk. Professor Tom Tyning will lead an amphibian and reptile walk that will involve checking under cover boards—a common surveying method used by herpetologists. Rene Wendell from Hoffmann Bird Club will lead an owl prowl and early morning bird walk, and Ben Nickley of Berkshire Bird Observatory will also conduct a bird banding demo.
This year's event is organized by Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and Nature Academy of the Berkshires. It's co-sponsored by Greenagers, Hoffmann Bird Club, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Panera, Nature Academy of the Berkshires, and BEAT.
Biological surveys and expert-led walks will be conducted in Bow Wow Woods—a 50-acre parcel of land just off Rte 41 on Bow Wow Rd—which was recently acquired by Greenagers and will soon be protected by a conservation restriction to be held by the Sheffield and Egremont Land Trusts. There are two half-mile trail loops in Bow Wow Woods: one on relatively flat ground and another that descends a small hillside before running alongside vernal pools and wetlands. All other activities will take place at April Hill.
April Hill Education and Conservation Center serves as the headquarters for Greenagers as well as a resource for community gatherings and education. Conserved in perpetuity, April Hill has nature trails, vegetable gardens, orchards, pastures and hayfields, and abuts the Appalachian Trail—linking it to the Berkshire-Taconic range and beyond.
A press release included:
It is with gratitude and humility that Greenagers acknowledges that the land they steward—including April Hill and all of their conservation work sites—is part of the ancestral homelands of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans, the indigenous peoples of this land. Despite tremendous hardship in being forced from here, today their community resides in Wisconsin and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. Greenagers pays honor and respect to Stockbridge-Munsee Community ancestors, past and present, as they commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all. At Greenagers, they commit to educating young people about indigenous inhabitants of this land and their history and incorporating race and land equity into their curricula and practices. They also commit to paying an annual voluntary land tax to the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.