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Watermelon Pond

10700 SW 250 St

Newberry, FL 32669

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2017 is the 75th Anniversary of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) wildlife management area system. As part of this year-long celebration, FWC staff will be leading bioblitzes at select wildlife management areas throughout Florida.

Want to be a field biologist for a day? Help discover what lives in Watermelon Pond Wildlife and Environmental Area by taking part in this bioblitz. Spend the morning and early afternoon tagging along with teams of experts to search for reptiles, amphibians, insects, birds, and plants in a variety of natural habitats. You’ll observe a huge variety of species while documenting your finds with our Florida Nature Tracker program. This provides information directly to FWC biologists and helps them protect the life within these wild areas.

Upon arrival, the 50 participants will be split into two teams with each group surveying a different mosaic of habitats along with their expert guides. One team will focus on an intact sandhill, scoping gopher tortoise burrows, flipping cover, and searching high and low for anything they can find. The other group will explore a series of sinkhole ponds, checking traps and dipnetting to reveal as much life as possible as well as looking for species in the natural habitats nearby. Each team will be able to look for all taxonomic groups with the respective subject matter experts for those groups. We welcome all skill levels and interests.

Each team will try to compile the largest list of species and all groups will have the chance to share their finds at the end.

The bioblitz is limited to 50 participants, so register early to reserve a spot!

FAQs

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
This program is suitable for people aged 10 years old and above, ALL interests and skill levels are welcome.

Where will we meet?

Park at the Watermelon Pond WEA entrance off SW 250th Street, Newberry, Florida. . Map and directions.

How far will we be walking?

Expect about an hour and a half of exploration per each rotation. Walking distances will vary, however, depending on the location and what you’re looking for.

What can I bring into the event?

Bring water, sturdy shoes, snacks, sunscreen, and a hat. Binoculars (we will have loaner pairs available), butterfly nets, magnifying glasses, and snake sticks will prove useful if you have them. Please bring a camera or cell phone to record your finds.

What creatures are we likely to see?

That’s the fun of a bioblitz! You will see whatever your group is able to find. Because you will be out with highly-experienced naturalists, though, you can expect to see a lot. Check out this eBird checklist to see what bird species are possible.

What is the Florida Nature Tracker program and do I need anything to be involved?

Nature Tracker is a program, run through iNaturalist, which allows anyone to become a citizen scientist. You can upload a photo of any plant or animal, get it identified by other citizen scientists and contribute to our understanding of what lives in Florida’s Wildlife Management Areas.

For more information about the Florida Nature Trackers project visit floridanaturetrackers.com/florida-nature-trackers/projects/

Please download the iNaturalist app or create an account before attending this event. Don’t worry, it’s free! Visit inaturalist.org for more information.

What is Watermelon Pond WEA like?

Please visit the Watermelon Pond WEA Website for more information on this area and to view photos of the different habitats there.

There will be a special early-bird adventure to see burrowing owls and, possibly, Bachman’s sparrows from 7:00 – 8:30. If you would like to be part of this pre-bioblitz adventure please contact Peter Kleinhenz.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

peter.kleinhenz@myfwc.com

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Date and Time

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Watermelon Pond

10700 SW 250 St

Newberry, FL 32669

View Map

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