NORTH BRUNSWICK – The North Brunswick Environmental Commission partnered with the New Brunswick Environmental Commission, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Americorps NJ Watershed Ambassadors to host a BioBlitz at the Elmwood Cemetery in North Brunswick.
A BioBlitz is a day when teams of volunteers come to a location to count and identify as many species as they can find. The teams are led by experts to help collect data on a small scale and provide the data to researchers who may use the data to understand larger national and global trends. Data collection by citizen scientists also help scientists and experts measure the overall health of the environment.
Eleanor Molloy, president of Elmwood Cemetery, said “Our Victorian garden cemetery is the perfect place for citizen scientists to study the natural world. Our cemetery has been here for 150 years. It was designed to be a natural sanctuary. There are very few settings in the county that have remained unchanged for the past 150 years. The cemetery’s 50 acres are one of the few places that have not changed in that time. Our founders’ vision was to establish a place of peace and tranquility where residents could find comfort in a beautiful landscape designed by a local architect and planted with native trees, plants and shrubs.”
More than four dozen volunteers and experts spent the morning of June 8 identifying and cataloguing various species. They identified eight species of fish, eight species of mammals, 47 species of insects, 15 species of aqua invertebrates, 20 species of fungi, 37 species of plants and 42 species of birds for a total of 177 different species identified in just one morning.
The experts guiding the citizen scientists were from the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries, New Jersey Wildlife Services, Middlesex County EARTH Center-Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Philadelphia Insectarium, and local birding experts. Their findings will be available in one month.