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Volunteers will chronicle ravine's plant, animal life

An effort to catalog the flora and fauna of Glen Echo Ravine is scheduled for Saturday, April 27.

The first-ever BioBlitz within the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum will begin at 8 a.m. April 27 and is scheduled to last 12 hours.

It will be led by Michael Graziano, a graduate student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State University, as well as members of the arboretum board.

"Though most BioBlitz events last 24 hours, ours will be a 12-hour event to inventory the plants, animals, fungi and other species in a set area," Graziano wrote in an email outlining a schedule of events as well as a code of conduct for participants in the event, which he described as a type of census. "BioBlitz events are a fun way to educate people about the natural diversity in their backyard and raise awareness of biodiversity. In addition to connecting to nature, BioBlitz events also help generate data concerning species richness and distribution within areas."

Volunteers will be asked to sign in at tables set up under the Indianola Avenue bridge near the bird mural. The requested information includes arrival and departure times and which of several walks in search of reptiles, amphibians and plants they choose to go on.

"As we are working in an urban area and within a community, it is important to respect other people's property and not trespass," Graziano wrote. "Also, we are working with living organisms and we must treat them with the respect and care that they deserve."

He added the main goal of volunteers and scientists alike in a BioBlitz is "to catalogue and observe as many species as possible."

While it would be beneficial to attempt to count numbers of species, it is not necessary," Graziano wrote. "Your main objective is to observe and document as many species as you can."

Any animals caught for purposes of documentation should be handled by the scientists, he said, and released unharmed as soon as possible. Plants and fungi should be photographed and their locations noted.

"Please do not pick flowers or take leaves from plants during the BioBlitz," Graziano said. "If you are unsure about a tree or fungi, please remember to take photographs only and see if a trip leader is available to help you identify the plant."

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