EEB graduate student, Ivan Monagan, explores D-Town Farm with these young scientists.

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology joined a group effort to conduct a BioBlitz at D-Town Farm on a recent Saturday to engage citizen science, foster community bonds and discover biodiversity in Detroit.

A  BioBlitz  is  a  rapid  biodiversity  assessment  that  combines  taxonomic  inventory,  public outreach and  science  education  for  all  of  its  participants. This event was an effort  to identify  all  of  the  plants,  fungi,  insects,  birds,  mammals  and  reptiles  in  the  5-acre  organic farm, according to the event press release.

Nearly 30 students from the youth group Food Warriors, part of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, along with volunteers from the University of Michigan, including EEB and the School of Natural Resources and Environment, participated on Saturday, May 9, 2015. The volunteers guided small groups of children around the farm and helped them identify the variety of species they encountered.

The data collected will be used to extend scientific and public understanding of biodiversity in  this  unique  urban  landscape  and to inform  future  opportunities  for  environmental  stewardship.  Over time, researchers will be able to measure how the farm’s maintenance affects the organisms that inhabit it. In addition, youth  engaged in a hands-on, out-of-classroom learning opportunity as they interacted with nature and built relationships with people in academia. After lunch, the students investigated specimens from the U-M Museum of Zoology. 

Special thanks to the following EEB volunteers: graduate students: Michelle Fearon, Gordon Fitch, Paul Glaum, Camden Gowler, Aaron Iverson, Tommy Jenkinson, Bryan Juarez, Ivan Monagan, Theresa Ong, Jacqueline Popma, Robert Powers, Alex Taylor, Mariana Valencia Mestre, Senay Yitbarek; Rachel Cable, research lab technician, Michael Penskar, research investigator; Professors Diarmaid Ó Foighil and John Vandermeer, and alumni: Naim Edwards (EEB MS 2014) and Kassandra Semrau (EEB MS 2012).

The BioBlitz was made possible with help and support from the DBCFSN, Voices for Earth  Justice, U-M EEB, U-M SNRE,  and  Strategies  for Ecology  Education,  Diversity  and  Sustainability (SEEDS).

View more photos in a BioBlitz 2015 web album>>

Getting acquainted with a new chum.