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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Reinhardt University’s Biology department hosted a Bioblitz on April 23-24 to celebrate biodiversity. A Bioblitz brings together interested citizens of a community with experts for biological surveying, over a specific time period, to create a biological inventory within a designated area. For Reinhardt’s Bioblitz, the research was conducted over Friday evening and all-day Saturday at Flint Farm in Waleska, Georgia.

This Bioblitz was an assignment from Dr. Zach Felix’s General Zoology class but also included Reinhardt’s National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholars, other Reinhardt students and Reinhardt biology alumni.

“We had several goals for the event: help students see what they have learned from this semester, get people excited about our local biodiversity, collect data on the biodiversity of the Flint Farm and have some fun,” said Felix, associate professor of biology.

Joining the Bioblitz were experts Dr. Rebecca Godwin, Piedmont College faculty and world-renowned expert on trapdoor spiders, Ani Escobar, Coosa Basin aquatic biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and four fish enthusiasts from the North American Native Fish Association.

According to Felix, the event produced interesting results for students to use in their future studies.

“We documented dozens of species of spiders from up to 20 families, including a really neat trapdoor spider that lives up to 25 years, 14 species of fishes, including the endangered Cherokee Darter – only found in the Upper Etowah River – as well as several rare mussel and crayfish species. I’d say it was a good Bioblitz.”

Felix was excited the event was able to showcase the academic achievements of Reinhardt students and to celebrate science with our community.

“I received comments that our students had a good time and were particularly surprised at the diversity of spiders that we found. Our visitors were impressed by the field sites and are looking forward to Bioblitz 2022!”

The event was funded through Reinhardt’s National Science Foundation’s S-STEM grant to engage student scholars and provide opportunities and experiences beyond the classroom.