Join us for the Camp Fletcher BioBlitz on April 29 & 30, 2022!
Find and identify as many different species as possible in one day. Celebrate history and biodiversity with nature, science, at, poetry, and storytelling.
The BioBlitz is a great way to excite kids about science, learn about biodiversity, discover how you can help protect our natural world, and explore the natural beauty of historic Camp Fletcher.
This event is FREE and everyone is welcome! Click to register.
Lunch, snacks, water and supplies will be provided while supplies last. Participants must register for lunch.
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 Camp Fletcher 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?
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
Schedule of Events
NOTE: This is a preliminary schedule and times and locations are subject to change.
Friday, April 29, 2022 — Nighttime Species Survey
(Limited overnight camping available)
|5:00 pm||Registration opens.||Camp Office|
|6:00 pm||Campfire Pizza Dinner.||Flag Pole|
|6:45 pm||Amphibian Species Survey with Samford University Professor of Natural Sciences Dr. Kristin Bakkegard.||Flagpole
Meet at 6:45pm to begin.
|8:00 pm until…||Moth Species Survey with Birmingham-Southern College Biology Professor Dr. Pete VanZandt and Vitaly Charny, lepidopterist, photographer, and co-author of Butterflies of Alabama.||Shades Creek near intersection of Yellow Trail and Blue Trail|
Saturday, April 30, 2022 — Daytime Species Surveys & Community Events
|Dawn||“Early Bird” Birding Species Survey begins.|
|8:30 am||Registration opens.||Flagpole|
|8:30 am||Breakfast sponsored by Friends of Shades Creek.||Pool Pavilion|
|9:00 am||Welcome to Camp Fletcher and Introduction to BioBlitz.||Flagpole|
|9:30 am||Species Surveys begin.|
|Tree Species Survey with Henry Hughes, founder and executive director of Friends of Shades Creek and retired education director of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Meet at Flagpole at 9:30am to depart.||Tree Trail|
|Turtle Species Survey with Dr. Andy Coleman, herpetologist and assistant professor at Talladega College and creator of the Urban Turtle Project.||Blue Trail near Blue Bird and Tributary of Shades Creek|
|Fish Species Survey with CRS Board Member Paul Freeman, CRS emeritus Field Director Dr. Randy Haddock, and CRS Board President and Samford University Biology and Environmental Sciences Chair Dr. Anthony Overton.||Blue Trail near Tributary of Shades Creek|
|10:00 – 11:00 am||Water Monitoring with Miles College Biology Professor Dr. Nikaela Flournoy. Microscope slides will be displayed in Pool Pavilion at lunch.||Pool Pavilion|
|12:00 – 1:00 pm||Lunch served.||Pool Pavilion|
|1:00 – 2:00 pm||“Storyteller on the River: Tale of Nurse Fletcher on the Cahaba” storytelling and community creative writing with Salaam Green, poet, storyteller, and founder of Literary Healing Arts.||Pool Pavilion|
|2:00 – 5:00 pm||Interactive Mapping Community Art Project with Celeste Pfau, fine artist of Amparo Creative House.||Pool Pavillion|
Thank you to Celeste Pfau of Amparo Creative House for creating this beautiful map. Printed copies will be available for participants at the BioBlitz Headquarters.
What to Wear/Pack
- Wear comfortable clothing for spending a day outdoors. (The forecast calls for temps of 60-80°F this weekend. Layers are helpful!)
- Closed-toe, comfortable shoes
- Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc)
- Those interested in surveying aquatic creatures should dress in clothing that can get wet and may want to bring dry clothes to change afterward.
Suggested Packing List:
- Reusable water bottle
- A cell phone with the iNaturalist app installed
- A backpack for carrying note-taking materials and other supplies
- Bug Repellent
- Rain gear (just in case)
All about iNaturalist
To collect and store the photos and information about the species we find, we will use a free app called iNaturalist. You can install this program on your phone and, as you find species at the BioBlitz, you can upload photos and information.
Get iNaturalist on Your Devices
Install the iNaturalist mobile app on your phone, tablet, or other portable device so you can always observe, even without cell reception or wifi.
Once you have installed the app on your phone, visit the “Project” tab, search for “Camp Fletcher BioBlitz,” and join that project.
As you identify species using iNaturalist during the BioBlitz, you can add them to the Camp Fletcher BioBlitz project, and your observations automatically populate there.
How to use iNaturalist
|If you are new to iNaturalist or would like a refresher on how the app works, check out “How to Make an Observation on iNaturalist using our Mobile App.”|
What will we be documenting in iNaturalist?
With your help, we will be documenting a variety of species, including:
- Fish, Mussels, and Aquatic Macroinvertebrates
- Reptiles and Amphibians
- Insects and Arachnids
- Plants, Lichens and Fungi
Have iNaturalist questions?
Contact Wil Rainer at [email protected]
BioBlitz News Coverage
In addition to a cover photo featuring CRS Education Director La’Tanya Scott enjoying the natural beauty of Camp Fletcher, last week’s edition of the Birmingham Times features an in-depth exploration of Camp Fletcher and its inspiring history.
Check it out to learn more about this special place that we are going to explore!
- How Bessemer’s Hidden Gem – Camp Fletcher – Changes Lives of Young People
- Meet Pauline Braye Fletcher, Camp Founder, First Black Registered Nurse in Alabama
- Cahaba River Society Offers Survey of Nature During This Weekend’s BioBlitz
About Camp Fletcher
Camp Fletcher was founded in 1926 by Alabama’s first African-American registered nurse, Mrs. Pauline Bray Fletcher, as a summer camp and health retreat for African-American women and children. It is notable that Nurse Fletcher amassed 280 acres of biodiverse, old growth forest and held onto it through a time period when Black land ownership was undermined. She built such support and respect among corporate and governmental leaders that, after a KKK raid at the camp, the state legislature passed Alabama’s anti-masking law, to curb such terrorism, which was the first of its kind in the south.
Today, Camp Fletcher is owned and operated by BridgeWays and still provides affordable and high quality outdoor experiences for children and youth. Camp Fletcher is open to all young people, regardless of any aspect of diversity. In 2018, Camp Fletcher was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Historic Places. However, some of the significant historic buildings need repair and rescue, and facility expansion and modernization is needed for the camp to reach its full potential. The original historic buildings built under Nurse Fletcher’s leadership – and some by her hand – still stand, notably with hand-laid stone fireplaces. For many African-Americans who went to Camp Fletcher over the years, this place is sacred ground.
Thank you to our partners and supporters
A successful BioBlitz needs many partners, and CRS especially thanks the Ratliff Charitable Foundation, Friends of Shades Creek, the Camp Fletcher staff, CRS intern Katie Sutton, and professors from area universities for making this event possible.