My experience at BioBlitz was much different than the other Macaulay students that may have attended. Like many, I too was skeptical of how relevant the visit would be and was pretty reluctant to attend. I had to change out of a suit at work and quickly sneak out of the office so I could head uptown to be out in the heat. Unfortunately I hadn’t seen the registration email until after registration closed, so I was making the trip in the hopes I wouldn’t be asked to go back.
However, when I entered the recreation center I saw a room full of Macaulay students who seemed pretty excited to be back and be out doors. I was given walk-in registration and quickly placed in the turtle group, which I was really looking forward too. After insects and plants, turtles actually seemed quite interesting to me. However as we were the first group, at 3:00 Monday, a problem quickly came up. Apparently a city law prohibits the release of red-eared sliders, the ubiquitous turtles, in central park. We argued that because we were taking them briefly it may not count, but the organizers wouldn’t budge. They had rushed someone to see if we could get a permit for the two-day bioblitz but were quickly turned down.
Since all the groups had left, we went on a walk and were given the opportunity to view the red-eared sliders from a distance. Catching them would be “illegal” so we took a walk around the water and learned more about them. It was particularly interesting to learn how common it is for people take the turtles and sell them for a few dollars around New York. While many do come to release them in the park, it was quite reasonable to see why we couldn’t.
Because the wait for the permit took so long, our trip was very brief and we didn’t quite have the experience that others did. However, I look forward to similar experiences this semester!