About 80 students from Detroit’s Western International High School gathered to conduct a biodiversity survey on Belle Isle with the help of U-M EEB volunteers. The students began to locate and identify mammals and birds; trees, shrubs and other plants; amphibians; reptiles; insects; and fungi on Wednesday morning, April 24, 2013. But, even the best laid plans sometimes fall victim to the weather.

Unfortunately, it was a cold and rainy (sometimes snowy) morning and so between creatures taking cover and worksheets getting soggy, not to mention cold and wet students, the group detoured into the Belle Isle Nature Zoo and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory to make the most of the day. They did manage to gather some useful information, mostly on birds and plants, which will be entered into the inaturalist database.

The purpose of the annual event is to promote local ecological knowledge and to increase participation of underrepresented groups in ecological education. The Belle Isle event is part of BioBlitz, a series of rapid biodiversity surveys being conducted this year on college campuses across the country, coordinated by local chapters of the Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability) program.

The outing was sponsored by the U-M’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, School of Natural Resources and Environment, U-M chapter of the Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS program, Detroit Zoological Society and Belle Isle Conservancy.

Special thanks to EEB and biology student volunteers: Beatriz Otero Jimenez, one of the primary event coordinators and a graduate student mentor with SEEDS, Marcella Baiz, Katy Lazarus (undergraduate), Naim Edwards, Thomas Jenkinson, Clarisse Betancourt, John Marino, Tatia Bauer, (undergraduate), Mariana Valencia Mestre, and Omar Bonilla.

U-M News Service video

Michigan Radio podcast