Amaranta’s Bio-Blitz

Buena Vista Audubon and researchers from the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research organized a Bio-Blitz April 29-30 to survey the plants and animals living along the Buena Vista Lagoon. What is a Bio-Blitz? It is a survey that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a given area over a short period of time. The surveys covered the grounds of the BVAS Nature Center, the new 3.5-acre “BVAS Wetlands Reserve” property across the street, and other locations along the lagoon.  All species that were encountered were surveyed within a 24-hour period.

The Bio-Blitz was a special tribute to Amaranta Kozuch, a bright and caring person, with a passionate love of Nature. She was a research technician for the San Diego Zoo’s  Institute for Conservation Research, and a volunteer Nature Guide  for Buena Vista Audubon Society. Amaranta was only 29 years old  when she was tragically killed in a traffic accident in December, 2014.  Amaranta’s colleagues at the Zoo and her family at BVAS came together to experience the beauty and wonder of Nature as Amaranta would have done, and to remember the goodness and grace of a special friend.

The nature center became alive during the Bio-Blitz as a research center, with BVAS volunteers and Zoo researchers moving in and out with survey results. Specialists in botany (including Preserve Calavera naturalists Paige DeCino and Karen Merrill), insects (with BVAS manager Annette Schneider), mammalogy, herpetology, and ornithology (including BVAS Board President Andy Mauro and volunteer Tom Troy) cruised the nature trail, the new land across the street, and other areas around Buena Vista Lagoon. Friday evening, a ‘bug’ sheet was set up, with a light to attract moths and other nightime visitors.

Early Saturday morning, at dawn, eager volunteers accompanied the zoo researchers to find out what species entered the live traps set the night before (see the full report to find out what they were!). The rest of the day found people hunched over bird, insect and plant ID books, muttering in Latin, eating donuts from Danny’s Donuts in Vista, and consulting amongst one another.  The tired but happy crew then were treated to Center manager Annette Schneider’s famous chili, and yet more donuts for dessert.

In summary, 196 species of plants and animals were found; there were 59 species of birds, 5 species of mammals, 43 species of insects, 82 species of plants, and 7 miscellaneous species. Please see the link to the full report. Amarantas Bio-Blitz Final Report 2016


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