BioBlitz coming to Hennepin-Hopper

Image courtesy of The Wetlands Initiative
Teams will comb the Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes on June 13-14 to identify as many species of plants and animals as possible in what is called a BioBlitz.

A BioBlitz is a methodical 24-hour survey of plants, birds, mammals, insects and other creatures. Scientists will lead volunteers to measure the site’s biodiversity. The event will run from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday so that daytime and nighttime species are surveyed, according to The Wetlands Initiative.

In recent years a dragonfly species never before recorded in Illinois was found at the Dixon Refuge. Another dragonfly not seen in the state since 1938 also was found there.

Nearly three dozen experts have agreed to participate representing the Illinois Natural History Survey, Chicago’s Field Museum, Peoria Audubon Society, National Park Service, Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, McHenry County Conservation District, Peoria Academy of Science, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Chicago Botanic Garden, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois Audubon Society, Illinois Ornithological Society, Triton College in River Grove, and Trine University in Indiana.

BioBlitz is open to volunteers age 14 and older who are can hike for up to three hours across variable terrain. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. No scientific knowledge is needed to volunteer. Volunteers need to be stealthy, observant and follow the group leader’s instructions. Volunteers need not participate for the entire 24 hours. Refreshments will be provided.

Registration is required. Visit or call The Wetlands Initiative at (312) 922-0777.

Prior surveys of the refuge have found nearly 600 native plant species and more than 270 bird species. More information is needed about mammals, insects, fungi and other things.

Founded in 2001 and open to the public year-round, TWI’s Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes has been designated both an Audubon Important Bird Area and a Wetland of International Importance.

Now totaling more than 3,000 acres, the Refuge is renowned for its diversity of habitats ranging from marshes, rare seeps, and other wetlands to oak savanna, the lakes, and several types of prairie. The BioBlitz will include baseline surveying of the newest addition to the Refuge, nearly 300 upland acres where ecological restoration work will begin this fall.

Source: News Tribune