BioBlitz 2010 — Block Island

Redfin pickerel (Esox americanus) from Clayhead Swamp Pond, caught by Calder Wencek.

Redfin pickerel (Esox americanus) from Clayhead Swamp Pond, caught by Calder Wencek.

The 11th annual Rhode Island BioBlitz was held Saturday, June 12, and Sunday, June 13, on the northern end of Block Island.

It was an enormous success, not only in producing approximately 195 participants and 980 species, but just in getting everyone and all their gear out to the site. (Traveling to Block Island ain’t like dusting crops. Without precise calculations you could miss a ferry or end up on the island without your tent or microscope, and that’d end your BioBlitz real quick.)

It took weeks and weeks of work by Kira Stillwell, Kim Gaffett, and others to organize the details of directions and parking on the Galilee side, meeting and transporting everyone on the Block Island side, large tents for science central, small tents for sleeping, food, dockage, and innumerable details of accommodation and transportation on island.

List of Participants (to come)

List of Species (to come)

Science Central was located at the fabulous Lapham family property on Clayhead (northernmost branch of Clayhead Trail). Amenities were simple: field & glade camping, potable water via hose & jugs, port-a-johns, and meals on the lawn. For Science Central: electricity via extension cords, some lights, tables, chairs, and tent cover.

Block Island summer resident Curt Milton made a wonderful 10 minute video of BioBlitz 2010. Watch it directly, below, or catch it on the RINHS YouTube channel.

Oh and there was that thunderstorm and downpour in the middle of the night. A lot of people slept wet. A number of people with poser tents ended up sleeping on the porch under the roof.

Doug Greene

Doug Greene

As we remember BioBlitz 2010, we can’t help think about participant and longtime RINHS friend Doug Greene who died suddenly on his way home from the event. Doug was a lichenologist who participated in seven RI BioBlitzes including the first one in 2000 and helped make hundreds of species records. We knew him as a warm spirit who was very knowledgeable about lichens and many other taxa and also devoted to promoting natural history generally. He leaves a big gap in the natural history family in Rhode Island in his native eastern Massachusetts.

A great many people and organizations contributed to make our most complex bioblitz nonetheless the most successful. Here’s the list (I’m sure we left people out, apologies in advance):

The Lapham Family, who loaned their house to be science central
Ocean View Foundation
Roger Williams Park Zoo
University of Rhode Island College of the Environment and Life Sciences
URI Coastal Institute
Peter Lord of the Providence Journal who delivered a lecture to the community on Friday night
Jon Boothroyd, URI, who led a geology walk
Block Island Conservancy
Block Island Land Trust
Martha Ball
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Rob & Kit Rohn
The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island
Town of New Shoreham
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Beach Head Catering
Block Island Boat Basin
Block Island Ferry
Block Island Fire & Water
Block Island Historical Society
Block Island Maritime Institute
Chris Littlefield
Curt Milton
Fred Leeder
Harbor Baptist Church
Kenyon Corn Meal Company
Kerri & John Spier
Largess Forestry
Lew Gaffett
Martha Roldan
Nat Gaffett
Old Post Office Bagels
Pond and Beyond Kayaks
Rita & Steve Draper
Robert Brown Septic Services
Scott Comings & Royal Bruce Montgomery
Steve Land