The Nature Conservancy in Michigan (TNC), in conjunction with 2023 Michigan State University Science Festival, is holding a monthlong BioBlitz at the Nan Weston Nature Preserve at Sharon Hollow. Visitors are encouraged to use the iNaturalist app as they get out in nature and celebrate Earth Month to log plants, animals and insects they might come across.
“Nan Weston Nature Preserve at Sharon Hollow is teeming with activity in April, from migrating songbirds stopping over to blooming wildflowers dotting the landscape,” said Helen Taylor, state director for TNC in Michigan. “Spring is a great time to get out and enjoy nature, and we’re eager to see the different kinds of plants, insects and birds visitors can spot and log at Nan Weston.”
By using the iNaturalist app to take photos at Nan Weston, visitors can become scientists for the day and help catalog the different plants, animals, insects, fungus and more that make this gem between Jackson and Ann Arbor so unique. The iNaturalist community then works together to identify the images visitors upload.
The Nature Conservancy will also be on hand during the MSU Science Festival April 1-2 to help educate Michiganders on Great Lakes reefs. Visitors to TNC’s booth, at the STEM Teaching and Learning Facility Room 2202, will get to be an ecosystem engineer for the day and design their own reef to provide habitat for some of Michigan’s common native fish species. They can then take on the role of predator or prey to put their design to the test.
“Between the BioBlitz at Nan Weston and MSU’s Science Festival, there are so many great opportunities to connect with nature and learn about the fascinating work scientists are doing all over our state,” Taylor said. “Whether it’s STEM, STEAM or just daring to dream, this is a great month for the next generation of scientists to explore our natural world.”
On Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, TNC is hosting a guided hike at Nan Weston as part of the monthlong BioBlitz, which will include a scavenger hunt. Those interested in attending are asked to register online before the event.
Those who cannot travel to Nan Weston can still collect data using iNaturalist at any one of our 35 preserves across Michigan.
“You can find a TNC preserve at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, just south of Detroit and all points in between,” Taylor said. “We offer 45-miles of trails that range from moderately difficult to family friendly. Our preserves offer a little something for everyone.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.