Species Scavenger Hunt in Berkshire County, MA
by Ariel Kirk
Last weekend marked the fourth Berkshire BioBlitz located in Great Barrington, MA- and the first event for the summer intern season for Don't Move Firewood! This year’s BioBlitz was hosted by Collin Adkins, an AmeriCorps member serving in the Berkshire region. Volunteers and nature enthusiasts came together to lead educational and eye-opening programs for the community. Local organizations like Project Native, Berkshire Natural Resource Council (BRNC), Greenagers, and our own campaign for Don’t Move Firewood turned out to support the event. The concept was simple, but still a large undertaking: In a 24 hour span, identify as many species as possible by observing the wildlife and local biodiversity. Many of the volunteers led nature walks to look and listen for birds or to identify trees, mushrooms, or whatever else caught their fancy.
Katie and I had a great time meeting new people and introducing them, in turn, to the message of Don’t Move Firewood and the importance of maintaining the health of our forests. We’re both looking forward to an amazing summer working as the Don’t Move Firewood interns.
So who are we?
I (Ariel Kirk) am from Rochester, NY and have always liked the outdoors and exploring my surroundings. I’m graduating this summer from SUNY Brockport with my MS in Environmental Science and Biology. There’s a huge range of biodiversity in forest environments and that variety is what initially captured my interest about nature as a child. This biodiversity is in jeopardy in part because of invasive pests. I’m looking forward to spreading the information I’ve learned during my academic career and through this program to bring awareness to the public and how we can make a considerable difference in the health of our forests.
I (Katie Robb) recently graduated from Smith College in Northampton, MA with a B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy. I spent most of my childhood in New Hampshire on the seacoast, but have lived in Western Massachusetts for the past four years. During my final two semesters of college, I became increasingly interested in invasive species management. Working with Don’t Move Firewood aligns perfectly with my interest in addressing the protection of our native species in New England. I see this internship as a way to make meaningful contributions to my community and environmental movement, and hopefully will jumpstart my career in the conservation field.
Next weekend (June 21st and 22nd) we'll have our booth at the Clearwater Festival in New York! Stop by to say hello- you might even get the chance to spin our prize wheel and win some fun gear.