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Wildlands Ecology program hosted three BioBlitz events this fall

Discovering who else lives in our forests is something we can do on our own, but it’s even more fun to share. Northeast Wilderness Trust (NEWT) hosted three Bioblitz events at Woodbury Mountain Wilderness Preserve in Vermont where 28 humans shared the joy of connecting to nonhuman species that are free to be when land is allowed to rewild.

Eric Bailey, Wildlands Ecology Fellow at Northeast Wilderness Trust, organized the community BioBlitz events at Woodbury Mountain Wilderness Preserve. Naturalists led each event and delved into various topics on this diverse and expansive 6,000+ acre Ambassador Preserve. Each group helped inventory a multitude of species observations using iNaturalist. To support the BioBlitz and the various observations community members make, the iNaturalist app is the primary tool for capturing data from any property. Any observation made on NEWT preserves and sanctuaries help NEWT get a snapshot of the different species growing on land that is rewilding.

“I personally love learning more about what’s going on at our properties. It’s great to figure out how to identify different species and find out more about them. I also enjoy getting to meet local people in the community, hear their stories, and find out more about their interest in NEWT. It’s a wonderful way to foster new relationships, human and nonhuman,” Eric said.

BioBlitz participants searching the water for new observations.

To kick off the BioBlitz, NEWT started with a botany walk in August led by ecologist and NEWT board member Liz Thompson. Participants observed ramp flowers, and blue cohosh among other unique plants. Following that walk, Kiley Briggs from the Orianne Society led an amphibian walk on the Preserve. Kiley toured the land ahead of time, setting out non-harmful turtle traps with food so visitors might be able to observe various turtle species. Many parents and children came out and enjoyed identifying salamanders, wood frogs, garter snakes, green frogs, eastern newts, pickerel frogs, and many other amphibians.

For the third BioBlitz of the season, NEWT partnered with Jason Mazurowski, an adjunct professor and field assistant at the University of Vermont, for a pollinator walk. This group observed flowering plants and saw many different pollinators including sweat bees, hornets, bumblebees, and European honeybees.

Participants of the Bioblitz events are encouraged to take photographs of what they’re seeing to share in the app. “So far, we’ve had 166 observations and identified 91 species over the past three walks. We’re hoping to get an idea of all the flora and fauna growing on or moving through the property,” Eric said. “We’d love to understand more about what’s happening at our Vermont Ambassador Preserve, and get the community engaged in what we’re doing. It’s important to us to get people out on the land and have them experience wild places, which is why our guided walks are so helpful and why the observations made during the BioBlitz are crucial.”

The BioBlitz series at Woodbury Mountain Wilderness Preserve is on a break for now, but will continue in early Spring through July 2024. Sign up for the Northeast Wilderness Trust’s monthly Enewsletter, The Wild Times, for event announcements and links to registration. To learn more about NEWT’s iNaturalist project or for more information on NEWT’s Wildland Ecology program, contact Eric Bailey at

Newts from the Field is a regular installment bringing you the wonders of Nature from the Wildlands Ecology and Stewardship Programs.