Put Your Species Identification Skills to the Test!

Family Friendly Fundraiser Gets in Touch with Nature

Ready, set, identify! Families can learn about local biodiversity and help to support local environmental education opportunities by participating in the Hitchcock Center for the Environment’s 16th annual Biothon – a mad dash to identify as many species as possible!

Ready, set, identify! Western Massachusetts families are invited to put their species identification skills to the test during The Hitchcock Center for the Environment’s 16th annual Biothon! While other organizations might hold a walk-a-thon, a marathon, or even a draw-a-thon, the Hitchcock Center’s annual fundraiser asks participants to do exactly what it is that the event raises money for – explore, interact with, and learn about the local landscape.

Participants in the 2015 Biothon will be competing to see who can identify the most species in a location. Intended as an exploration in biodiversity, Biothon asks teams to set their own time, location, and species type (birds, mammals, trees, fungi, or everything!) before setting out into the field to identify what has been found. The winning Biothon team will be the one who manages to find the greatest amount of biodiversity in their chosen location, but truly, all participants are winners, as they will get to participate in a valuable experiential learning opportunity!

Not only are participants asked to identify as many species as they possibly can, they are also asked to gather donations for the Hitchcock Center’s environmental education programs. Fundraisers and donations help to keep the center’s programming accessible to the community, and donations support not only these programs, but the continued process of examining local biodiversity as well!

While teams including young children may not be properly equipped to win the event, participation can nevertheless provide a meaningful learning experience. Armed with field guides, families can explore their favorite outdoor spaces to see what they can see! Will you find a plethora of insects, a variety of grasses, or perhaps a few handfuls (literally) of amphibians? Only time will tell! Contemplate as a family what type of location is most likely to have the greatest amount of biodiversity. Then, choose the most nature-loving of all of your friends, register a team, and start asking friends and neighbors to support your efforts!

Biothon 2015 will be held over the course of two separate weekends – Friday, May 1st to Sunday, May 3rd or Friday, May 8th to Sunday, May 10th – allowing participants to choose the time that best fits their schedule. For more information or to register as a team leader, contact Marcus Simon at marcus@hitchcockcenter.org.

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