COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department is hosting a bioblitz Friday-Sunday, Aug. 27-29, in Stratton Open Space. Free and open to the public, the event focuses on finding as many species as possible to create a biological census of the area. There will also be guided hikes and family-friendly activity booths from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Ridgeway Trailhead parking lot where participants can learn more about the local scientific community, plus wildlife and plants in the Pikes Peak region.
“The real beauty of a bioblitz is that it provides an opportunity for everyone in the community to get involved with science and experience a park or open space in a new way,” said Gillian Rossi, park ranger supervisor. “We look forward to working with citizen scientists to help better paint the picture of Stratton Open Space.”
The Ridgeway Trailhead parking lot will be closed Saturday and Sunday for the event. Participants should park at Cheyenne Mountain High School (1200 Cresta Road), where they will be shuttled to and from the Ridgeway Trailhead. Masks are required on the shuttle.
Guided hikes begin Friday evening with a Bat Flight Hike from 8:30-9:30 p.m. near the South Suburban Reservoir to monitor bat acoustics. Daytime wildlife hikes will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, including Beginner Birders, Bug Blitz, Hike Like Bigfoot, and a Hiking Scavenger Hunt. Find the full schedule and register for the guided hikes at https://coloradosprings.gov/parks/article/calendar-event/stratton-open-space-bioblitz.
For those who prefer to participate solo, simply download the iNaturalist app and note your observations in the open space. The free app maps and helps identify flora, fauna, and fungi. The process is simple: snap a picture or take a recording, then work with the app to identify the plant or animal. All observations in the project area are saved and stored for future analysis. If you don’t know what you found, the iNaturalist community will help identify it for you.
The Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program started hosting community bioblitzes in 2017 to get a snapshot of biodiversity within parks and open spaces citywide. Over time, these snapshots will be compared to reveal how the areas’ ecosystems are changing and can provide insight into management practices. TOPS is a city sales and use tax that protects and preserves trails, open space and parks citywide. Since 1997, it has preserved nearly 7,200 acres of open space. For more information on TOPS, visit ColoradoSprings.gov/TOPS.