BioBlitz – An Intense Field Study

by Joan Greene

According to Wikipedia: A BioBlitz, also written without capitals as bioblitz, is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct the field study over a set period of time.

On Saturday, September 12, 2020, you can take part in a BioBlitz that is sponsored by the The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge in Springville, Tennessee. This one day event is co-sponsored by Tennessee Valley Authority and Discover Life in America.  Participants will document the plants, animals, and other lifeforms that live in the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in north-central Tennessee.  Paris Landing State Park/Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge is a Chapter of the Tennessee Naturalist Program.

The goal of this event is to catalog as many species (plants, insects, birds, fungi, everything) as possible around the Britton Ford Trail area of TNWR. Each new organism, will be documented by taking a photo (or recording a sound) with your smartphones and posted to iNaturalist, a citizen science app.

There will be experts on-hand to lead participants and to talk about the biology of the organisms found. This is a fun and easy way to help gather real scientific data and to learn about all the cool biodiversity that lives all around us!

This free event is geared to participants ten years and older.  To learn more go to:

If you are a Tennessee Naturalist Program student or graduate this event will count toward volunteer hours.  Be sure to confirm with your Chapter Coordinator.  An individual “backyard” BioBlitz does not count toward volunteer hours.

What is iNaturalist?

“iNaturalist is a really useful, free tool that allows anyone to collect biodiversity data anywhere in the world. It has a web-based platform ( and an app for iOS and Android devices. Through the app, you can take one or more photos of a plant, insect, mushroom, bird, or any other organism and submit it as an observation in iNaturalist. The app even helps you identify what you’re looking at! It’s both a great way to learn what creatures live in your own backyard and a wonderful tool for scientists to crowd-source the collection of helpful biological data.”

Want to be part of the BioBlitz on September 12th at the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (TNWR) in north-central Tennessee? Registration is free, but be sure to 

register at :

Have questions? Ask Todd: or (865) 430-4757

Requirements: No experience necessary. Adults and children 10 and up are welcome to participate! Please download the iNaturalist app to your smart device beforehand and follow the prompts to create an iNaturalist account (App Store, Google Play ).

Hey, if you missed the event, remember that your own backyard is a great place to begin to explore Tennessee nature and BioBlitz the place.  (Cool idea for a birthday party.)

If you have school age children and are looking for locally focused science lessons and ways to teach our natural world a BioBlitz is just the ticket!  You can do a BioBlitz in your own backyard, a local park or around your neighborhood.  The popular iNaturalist app is a great tool.  It includes an excellent guide for holding your own BioBlitz, as well as, a feature to record your photos and findings.

Want to learn more about becoming a Naturalist and exploring Tennessee nature?