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Colonial National Historical Park is looking for volunteers to take part in its upcoming “Butterfly Bio Blitz,” an initiative that helps identify and catalogue the many species of butterflies in the park.
The program is a first for CNHP, who modeled it off more extensive bio blitzes taking place in other national parks.
“This is like a pilot run, to gauge community interest,” said Peggy Whitney, a National Park Services biotech.
The blitz, which will take place all day Saturday, will begin with an information session during which volunteers will be familiarized with how to observe and identify butterflies. No previous experience or knowledge is necessary, as many Master Naturalists and park employees will be on hand to help novices learn the ropes.
The pool of volunteers will then be divided into three separate groups, each with a different zone of the park to work in. One group will be assigned to Historic Jamestowne, one will cover Yorktown Battlefield and one group will travel to the different overlooks and turn-offs along the Colonial Parkway, which connects the two sites.
Each group will be accompanied by several Master Naturalists, who will assist in spotting and identifying butterflies at every location.
After about four hours of spotting the groups will reconvene at Paul’s Deli in New Town to make a final tally of the types and numbers of butterflies spotted.
Whitney is hopeful that if the butterfly bio event is successful, the park will put on bio blitzes for other species such as bees and wasps in the future. The common goal of all of these events will be to raise awareness, knowledge and appreciation for the diversity of the Historic Triangle’s local parks.
The blitz begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. Volunteers will need to bring a bag lunch. Suggested clothing includes sturdy covered shoes, a long sleeve shirt, a hat and sunglasses. Bottled water and sunscreen are recommended.
All ages are welcome but anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. All volunteers should be prepared to be on their feet for about five hours. To sign up, contact Peggy Whitney at Margaret_Whitney@nps.gov or 757-856-1262.