amer littoral seiningGrab your magnifying glass and binoculars to explore nature. On September 23-24, 2016, the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area (Gateway) will participate in the National Parks BioBlitz.

A BioBlitz is a fun, fast-paced biological survey of a park’s creepers and crawlers, plants and pollinators, mammals and more. The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday with more than 100 BioBlitzes around the country.

During this free, two-day event, teams of scientists, naturalists and volunteers will discover and document the biodiversity in and around Sandy Hook. This 24-hour event will start at 1 p.m. on Friday, September 23 and conclude at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 24, 2016.

A BioBlitz is a great way for people to learn more about all of the animals and plants at Sandy Hook,” said Jen Nersesian, Gateway's superintendent. “Whether you have a couple of hours or a whole day, there will be something for everyone."

Individuals and groups interested in volunteering should register for specific survey times. Surveys will begin at 1:00, 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. on Friday, September 23 and 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 24. You are welcome to participate in as many surveys as you want.

Explorers of all ages are needed. All events are free and open to the public. There are activities to engage the whole family, no matter how much time you have.

“The Bioblitz is a rare opportunity for the general public to engage with scientists, educators, naturalists, and take part in a citizen-science based program,” said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director for the American Littoral Society, which is hosting the event. “Anyone can volunteer to help with base camp setup, on-site registration, or even cooking. You can also join us just to take a walk through the Holly Forest or go seining in the bay.”

There is no need to register for the public activities. If you wish to volunteer to help with the BioBlitz, use this webpage to register ahead of time: http://bioblitz16.ciesin.columbia.edu

Volunteers may also register on-site the day of the event. All participants will sign in on the day of the event at the event base camp on the Fort Hancock Parade Grounds, 18 Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732. Sign in is open Friday, September 23 from noon to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, September 24 from 5:30 to 11:00 a.m.

The Sandy Hook BioBlitz is being hosted by The American Littoral Society and Gateway National Recreation Area with support the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University. With special thanks to OceanFirst, the premier event sponsor for the Sandy Hook BioBlitz.