On May 11th-12th, 2013 we will host a Bio-Blitz at McAlhany Nature Preserve (MNP). The Nature Preserve has a vast diversity of organisms and habitats on the 367 acre property. This is a very unique area with upland wetlands, non-alluvial swamp, bottomland hardwood, xeric pine forest, and mesic hardwood/pine forest. MNP has an upland portion and a lowland portion. The upland portion contains the first-order stream Cattle Creek, as well as a new wetland restoration project, and a more-established project restoring a long leaf pine/ wire grass savanna. The lowland area contains a 9-acre oxbow lake, numerous vernal pools and seasonally-flooded cypress swamp, and is bordered by 1.5 miles of Edisto River frontage. All of these characteristics provide for a great diversity within the habitats on MNP. The purpose of the Bio-Blitz is to involve specialists in all areas of biology to document the biodiversity and to provide a comprehensive flora and fauna species list.

The Bio-Blitz will begin at 9 am Saturday (May 11th) and continue through Sunday (May 12th) ending around 5pm. Participants are welcome to campout at MNP which has numerous tent sites available. We have a well-equipped cabin with a fully equipped kitchen, a full bath, lounge area, two bedrooms with bunk beds, and a screened in porch. If some would like to come Friday, I will be at MNP by 5pm Friday and will stay throughout the weekend. We will have a cook out Saturday for lunch serving hamburgers, veggie burgers, and hotdogs. Unfortunately, all other meals cannot be provided; therefore, individuals must bring food in accordance to their planned length of stay. We will have at least some coolers and a full-sized refrigerator available to store food but, of course, feel free to bring your own cooler if you’d like.

Saturday morning we plan to break out in groups scouting out areas in MNP. Because we want to create a list of flora and fauna on the property, we need participants to document their findings through pictures, notes, or possible GPS coordinates. If you have a hand-held GPS unit, please feel free to use the device to document sites of findings. Photographs taken by a digital camera can be uploaded into my computer to aid in the documentation. Everyone needs to return to the cabin around 12pm for the cookout. Once everyone is finished with lunch, we plan to send groups out again to survey the property finishing around 5 pm. When finished with surveying the property, please turn over the information to one of the MNP project leaders so we can compile all the data. We would like everyone to have a lot of fun, enjoy the wilderness, and help out with our project. Hopefully, this will be a great time for everyone getting out into the habitat and provide us with valuable information about the flora and fauna of MNP.

 More information can also be found on Charleston Audubon’s website, and lots of pictures can be found on their facebook page.
Our Audubon contact is Dr. Paul Nolan (Citadel faculty).