Joliet’s Pilcher Park Hosts a BioBlitz for Scientists and Public on June 12 and 13

Scientists and citizens alike in Will County are gearing up for a “BioBlitz” to document the biodiversity in Pilcher Park, an urban woodland within the Hickory Creek watershed and the hidden gem of Joliet and Will County. During a BioBlitz, biologists gather at a site for a 24-hour period and collect as much data as they can, said Katie Zaban, Pilcher Park Nature Center manager. Pilcher Park will host such an event this coming weekend, June 12 and 13.
According to the Joliet Herald-News,

Visitors can watch the biologists in action. Katie Zaban [manager of the Pilcher Park Nature Center] notes that the BioBlitz is being held to draw attention to the park, which park officials plan to expand. “If people are interested and don’t know what lives in the park, this is a good event to go attend so they can realize, ‘Hey, this is what lives here and we want to protect these things,’ ” she said.

Also on June 12, the park district will host an open house at Pilcher Park to celebrate the addition of 80 acres there. The open house will start at 9 a.m. at the Pilcher Park Nature Center.

Zaban said Pilcher Park is significant because it was the site that started the Joliet Park District. She said the park has grown to 640 acres in size and has about 10 miles of hiking trails, along with a nature center and greenhouse.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources designated Pilcher Park as an Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site, including it in the category of “high-quality natural community and natural community restorations.” 

The BioBlitz is a result of a partnership between the Joliet Park District, Illinois Audubon Society, University of St. Francis and Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

For more information on the BioBlitz, call 815-741-7277.

BioBlitz Schedule

• 3 p.m. June 12: Steve Pescitelli from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will sample and identify fish near the park center. He will also talk about Hickory Creek fish populations.

• 7:30 p.m. June 12: Juanita Armstrong, from the Forest Preserve District of Will County, will set up a mist net and catch bats in the forest. She will also check on the bats after it gets dark.

• 9 a.m. June 13: Siobhan Peacy, from Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and Rita Renwick, from the Illinois Audubon Society, will lead a hike through the woods and discuss the significance of Pilcher Park.

• 10 a.m. June 13: Joliet Park District naturalists will lead a pond study for children ages 7 and older.

• 11 a.m. June 13: Bill Bromer, from the University of St. Francis, will lead a crew sampling Hickory Creek for aquatic insects and crayfish.

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