Get ready, nature enthusiasts! The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is gearing up for the eighth annual Texas Pollinator BioBlitz, a celebration of the buzzing heroes that keep our ecosystems blooming. From October 6-22, everyone from families to school clubs is invited to dive into the vibrant world of pollinators.
Ross Winton, the insect aficionado from TPWD, emphasizes the urgency of understanding and safeguarding these critters, especially with the alarming decline in insect populations. Texas, with its diverse landscapes, hosts a dazzling array of pollinators, from majestic monarch butterflies to the tiniest solitary bees.
But it’s not just about admiring these winged wonders; it’s about action. The BioBlitz isn’t a passive venture but a data-driven quest. Armed with the iNaturalist app, participants become citizen scientists, documenting their encounters with pollinators. This information is the golden ticket for TPWD biologists, helping them fine-tune conservation strategies for the future.
Highlighting the critical status of many species, TPWD has pinpointed 30 pollinators as “Species of Greatest Conservation Need.” These include native butterflies, bees, moths, bats, hummingbirds, wasps, flies, and beetles — all vital players in the dance of sustaining native plant species and our essential crops.
Now, let’s zoom into the events! Dive into the adventure starting on October 7 at Willow Fork Park in Katy. The Nature Apps for Your Phone event at 9:00 AM guides you through the iNaturalist app and an exploration of the Willow Fork Park Pollinator Garden.
In Austin on October 8, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM, the Wells Branch Wild Urban Pollinator BioBlitz at 14611 Wells Port Drive promises a hands-on experience. Participants will learn to use iNaturalist and embark on a short walk to capture pollinators in action.
Move forward to October 10 in Rosenberg, where from 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM, the BioBlitz at Seabourne Creek Nature Park with Texas Master Naturalist Coastal Prairie Chapter is all about discovering the diverse pollinators and native plants they rely on.
San Marcos takes center stage on October 14 with the Monarch Fest and Native Plant Sale from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM at the San Marcos Discovery Center. Explore local partners, learn about monarch butterflies, and dive into community science with iNaturalist.
On October 15 in Richmond, from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Enchanted Gardens invites you for a Passport to Pollinators. Explore the nursery, complete the passport book, and claim your prize.
Jump to October 20 in New Braunfels, where from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, the BioBlitz at Headwaters at the Comal invites you to catalog the incredible diversity of plants and animals.
Arlington is on the radar on October 21 with the Lake Arlington Native Plant and Pollinator Garden Biosurvey from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM. Volunteers will use iNaturalist to observe changes in biodiversity over the years.
In San Antonio on the same day, from 10:00 – 11:30 AM, join the Growing Native Milkweed Workshop at Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy. Learn to grow native milkweeds and take home seeds to sprout your knowledge.
Round off the BioBlitz on October 21 at Acton Nature Center in Granbury, from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. The Rio Brazos Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists invites you for Monarch Tagging and Celebration — a free family-friendly event featuring monarchs, face painting, and the intriguing life of Monica Monarch.
Mark your calendars, get your iNaturalist app ready, and let’s dive into the extraordinary world of pollinators!
The webpage from Texas Parks and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yAxphusbVYWildlife Department provides information about the Texas Pollinator BioBlitz Events scheduled to take place between October 6-22, 2023. Below is a chart summarizing the schedule of events:
|Date||Time||Event Name||City||Hosting Organization||Description of Activities|
|Sat, Oct 7||9:00 – 10:00 AM||Nature Apps for Your Phone – Texas BioBlitz||Katy||Willow Fork Park||Learn how to use the iNaturalist app and visit the Willow Fork Park Pollinator Garden to capture pollinators in action and capture observations.|
|Sun, Oct 8||1:00 – 3:00 PM||Wells Branch Wild Urban Pollinator BioBlitz||Austin||Wells Branch Wild||Introduction to the iNaturalist app, participate in a short walk between two garden areas in the park, search for and photograph pollinators for submission to iNaturalist, and learn how to tag observations to local experts for identification.|
|Tues., Oct 10||8:30 AM – 12:00 PM||BioBlitz at Seabourne Creek Nature Park||Rosenberg||Texas Master Naturalist Coastal Prairie Chapter||Learn how to use iNaturalist with TMN Coastal Prairie Chapter members and discover the diversity of pollinators and the native plants they use at Seabourne Creek Nature Park.|
|Sat, Oct 14||9:00 AM – 2:00 PM||Monarch Fest and Native Plant Sale||San Marcos||San Marcos Discovery Center||Learn about monarch butterflies and other pollinators, explore being a community scientist using iNaturalist, peruse Fall Native Plant Sale items, and engage in monarch crafts, photo ops, and other activities.|
|Sun, Oct 15||10:00 AM – 4:00 PM||Passport to Pollinators||Richmond||Enchanted Gardens||Visit the nursery to celebrate and learn about pollinators, pick up a passport book, answer questions as you explore the nursery, and show any employee the completed book for a prize.|
|Fri, Oct 20||10:00 AM – 12:00 PM||BioBlitz at Headwaters||New Braunfels||Headwaters at the Comal||Help catalog the diversity of plants, animals, insects, fungi, etc. at Headwaters. Brief discussion on using the iNaturalist app before starting. No experience necessary!|
|Sat, Oct 21||8:00 AM – 8:00 PM||Lake Arlington Native Plant and Pollinator Garden Biosurvey||Arlington||Lake Arlington Garden, Arlington Water Utilities||Add to past years’ observations using the iNaturalist app and observe the effect changes made at the site had on biodiversity.|
|Sat, Oct 21||10:00 – 11:30 AM||Growing Native Milkweed Workshop||San Antonio||Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy||Learn how to grow various native milkweeds of Texas from Native American Seeds specialist Michelle Gorham. Seeds provided to participants. Must be 18 years or older, registration required.|
|Sat, Oct 21||10:00 AM – 2:00 PM||Monarch Tagging and Celebration||Granbury||Rio Brazos Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists||Free celebration of the Monarch Butterfly with family activities including face painting, creating take-home treasures, learning how and why we tag Monarchs, and meeting Monica Monarch.|
Note: The events are subject to change, and it’s always a good idea to check the official website for the most up-to-date information.