Cahaba BioBlitz 2023
WHAT: 2nd annual Cahaba BioBlitz
This free, family-friendly conservation & environmental education event – led by some of our region’s premiere nature and wildlife experts – is a chance for people from all backgrounds to be introduced to citizen science and safe recreation in the outdoors, while participating in unique environmental education opportunities including biological surveying, nature walks, creative writing, art activities and more!
WHEN: Saturday, April 15, 2023, 7am-2pm
Registration opens at 7am with activities scheduled throughout the day.
WHERE: Cahaba River Shelby County Park
Check in at BioBlitz Headquarters when you arrive: Trailhead Parking West, 2011 River Road, Helena, AL 35080.
After you enter the park, this pavilion is .5 miles in on the right on County Road 251. Watch for our signs, and you’ll see us at the pavilion adjacent to the parking area.
Register for free!
Register online for free. We’ll email you a detailed schedule, a map of points of interest, and other helpful information in advance of the event. Online registration is not required, but it helps us ensure that we have enough materials for everyone and that you have everything you need before the big day.
What is a BioBlitz?
During a BioBlitz, we focus on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. At a BioBlitz, scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members work together to get a snapshot of an area’s biodiversity.
This BioBlitz will bring local scientists, educators, conservation organizations, and community members together to build an awareness of the biodiversity and history of Cahaba River Park while collecting useful scientific data. Teams of volunteers will work with onsite experts to find and identify as many species of plants and animals, on land and in the water, as can be found on this special site.
What will we be documenting and how will it be recorded?
With your help, we will be documenting a variety of species, including:
- Birds and mammals
- Fish, mussels, and aquatic macroinvertebrates
- Reptiles and amphibians
- Insects and arachnids
- Plant species, lichens and fungi
- Water quality
We will record observations using iNaturalist
iNaturalist is a FREE online database and smart phone app that allows users to upload and share photos of living things that they observe in nature. It helps users to identify their own observations and share them with their community, connecting people to nature and advancing biodiversity science and conservation.
To participate in the BioBlitz, anyone can use their smart phone to take a photo of a living thing at Cahaba River Park on the day of the BioBlitz, and upload it to iNaturalist using either the smartphone app or the website.
We recommend using the app and downloading the app and setting up your free account ahead of time. This will give you a chance to check it out and practice uploading observations. Also, cell service can be spotty in some areas of the park, so you may not be able to download it there. Don’t worry–you can still record observations in the app even if you don’t have phone service. They will synch next time you connect to the internet.
Schedule of Events
Saturday, April 15, 2023 — Daytime Species Surveys & Community Events
NOTE: This is a preliminary schedule. Times and locations are subject to change. Visit BioBlitz Headquarters for the most up-to-date information about the day’s activities.
|7:00 am||Early Bird Registration Opens||BioBlitz Headquarters|
|7:00 am||Early Bird Welcome, Instructions, & Introduction||BioBlitz Headquarters|
|7:30 am||Begin Early Bird Species Surveys – on your own or tag along with an expert!|
|Early Birding with Dr. Scot Duncan and Chris Oberholster from Alabama Audubon and Meg Ford, formerly of AL Audubon and Wild Alabama.||Trail TBD|
|Early Reptiles & Amphibian Surveying with naturalist Jimmy Stiles.||Trail TBD|
|Early General Surveying with Dr. Larry Davenport, professor of biological and environmental sciences at Samford University.||Trail TBD|
|Early Aquatics Surveying||Early Bird Aquatics (see map) |
Park at gate along entrance road, walk along orange access road
|Mussel Species Survey with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Biologist Brittany Barker-Jones.|
|Aquatic Invertebrate Species Survey with CRS emeritus Field Director Dr. Randy Haddock and Dr. Kristin Bakkegard, professor of natural sciences at Samford U.|
|Fish Species Survey with USFWS Partners Biologist Jeffrey Drummond and CRS Board Member Paul Freeman.|
|Early Water Monitoring with Miles College Biology Professor Dr. Nikaela Flournoy. Microscope slides will be displayed at BioBlitz Headquarters at 10am.||Trail TBD|
|9:30 am||Wrap up Early Bird Surveying & Return to BioBlitz Headquarters|
|9:30 am||Welcome, Instructions, Introductions, and Sharing from Early Bird Surveying||BioBlitz Headquarters|
|10:00 am||Nature Journaling with environmental educator Amy Sides. This activity will be open throughout the day and all ages are encouraged to participate!||BioBlitz Headquarters|
|10:30 am||Nature Poetry and Creative Writing with Poet and UAB Professor Halley Cotton.||BioBlitz Headquarters|
|11:00 am||Begin Later Gator Surveying – on your own or tag along with an expert!|
|Guided Tree Walk with Henry Hughes, founder and executive director of Friends of Shades Creek and retired education director of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.||Peaceful Easy Feeling Trail (after 5k race)|
|Later General Surveying with Larry Davenport.||Trail TBD|
|Later Aquatics Surveying with Brittany Barker-Jones, Jeffrey Drummond, Dr. Randy Haddock, and Dr. Kristin Bakkegard, and Dr. Anthony Overton||Later Gator Aquatics |
|Later Reptiles & Amphibians Surveying with Jimmy Stiles||Trail TBD|
|Later Birding with Dr. Scot Duncan and Chris Oberholster||Trail TBD|
|12:30 pm||Wrap up Later Gator surveying and return to BioBlitz Headquarters|
|1:00 pm||End of BioBlitz||BioBlitz Headquarters|
- Individuals without a DCNR or Federal collection permit may not harvest or collect any specimens. Take photos only.
- Please stay off race course trails until races conclude. See map for detail. Watch for runners, bicyclists, and pedestrians along roads.
This year’s BioBlitz will also coincide with the Cahaba River Ramble trail race. Participants are invited to enjoy both events!
Cahaba River Park Map
About Cahaba River Park in Shelby County
The Cahaba River-Shelby County Park is a joint venture between the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust and Shelby County with the County taking the lead on development and maintenance of outdoor amenities at the park. This scenic park is located at the confluence of the Cahaba River and Shades Creek with 1,838 acres including a combined 1,339 acres in the developed North Sector (1,212 acres Forever Wild Property and 127 acres Shelby County Property) on River Road (County Road 251) off County Road 13 west of Helena. The undeveloped South Sector (311 acres Forever Wild Property and 188 acres Shelby County Property) is located at the end of County Road 251 off County Road 10 west of Montevallo.
The North Sector has around 30 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, mountain biking, and trail running featuring 21 miles of professionally designed and constructed single track trails. Trails range from ridgetop trails through the pines to trails meandering along either the Cahaba River or Shades Creek to a trail past an old car that may have fallen out of the sky to a loop around a large pond with an abundance of wildlife. Picnicking and relaxing may take place at three pavilions – two of which have connected restrooms. Trail signage is found throughout the park to orient park users. A caretaker resides onsite to provide security and maintenance. Three river access points with parking are found within this sector. River Road was paved in 2021.
Curious to know more?
Find out what’s happened at previous Cahaba Bioblitz events!