Category Archives: Conservation

Upper Delaware BioBlitz Reveals Thriving Diversity in Sullivan County

Children enjoy a lesson on aquatic insects. Photo by Roy Morsch.

Over 800 Species Identified on Tusten, NY Property

Hundreds of community members took advantage of the unusual, free opportunity to interact with over 55 scientists and amateur naturalists participating in the second annual Upper Delaware BioBlitz on June 29th, 2014 in Sullivan County, NY.

The official count of 807 species identified in 24 hours at the BioBlitz is growing as the 9 research teams submit their final tallies after confirming and revising initial IDs.

Barbara Leo, of the Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society, noted her bird team research highlights to be, “the Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes which are generally found by their territorial singing in late April and May respectively. These were both by direct observation in the habitats that were expected to support them. The other really nice find was an Ovenbird nest with an incubating female and 3 eggs. Most birders never get to see this warbler let alone find their nest, which is concealed on the ground. The two singing Hooded Warblers on the yellow dot trail at Ten Mile Access was, also, a very nice surprise.”

The primary goal of a BioBlitz is to compile a snapshot survey of the life on a particular property as an indicator of the biodiversity of the area. Other goals include raising public awareness, fostering scientific interests in children, and providing opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary research.

Next year’s Upper Delaware BioBlitz will be on the Pennsylvania side of the river. For more information the public can visit

Read the full press release here.

Project Puffin and the Seabirds of Maine

Come enjoy the stunning photography of Chris Fischer while learning about the seabirds of Maine and National Audubon’s seabird conservation efforts. Our annual election of board officers and directors will follow the presentation.

Atlantic Puffin Chick

An Atlantic Puffin chick being held by a seabird researcher on Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge in Maine.
Seal Island is a field station for National Audubon Society’s Seabird Restoration Program, most well known
as Project Puffin. Photo (c) 2013 Chris Fischer Photography.

When? Mon., July 7, 2014 at 7pm.
Where? Chamber of Commerce, Commercial St., Honesdale

Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills and Storm-petrels are just a few of the seabird species captured by local photographer Chris Fischer while documenting the work of Project Puffin for several weeks last spring/summer on islands in the Gulf of Maine.

Come enjoy Chris’ eye-catching photography while learning about the seabirds of Maine and National Audubon’s seabird conservation efforts. You’ll get a “behind the curtains” look at the life of a seabird biologist, and Chris is sure to share a captivating story or two about his experiences as well.

Learn more about Chris and see examples of his work at

Election of Officers and Directors

All members of the Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society are invited to stay following the presentation as we elect our board officers and directors for 2014/15. Questions? Interested in learning more about becoming involved on the board? Call (570) 253-9250.

2014 Upper Delaware Bioblitz, June 28-29th

Child holding salamander at 2013 BioBlitz event in Pennsylvania. Credit: Roy Morsch

Child holding salamander at 2013 BioBlitz event in Pennsylvania. Credit: Roy Morsch

The 2nd annual Upper Delaware Bioblitz will be held at the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in Sullivan County, NY, from Sat., June 28, 9am – Sun., June 29, 3pm. Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon is one of 18 sponsoring organizations, as is the Sullivan County Audubon Society across the river. Headed by Barbara Leo, our team of bird experts will be there to locate and identify birds. We’ll also be leading bird walks, just one of the many activities open to the public.

Here’s the official press release from Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County:

Families Have Special Opportunity to Interact with Scientists at BioBlitz

UPPER DELAWARE REGION – Families can take advantage of a free educational opportunity for all ages to experience the diversity of life on a unique parcel of private property in Tusten, NY this June.

The second annual Upper Delaware BioBlitz will occur on Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29, 2014. On Sunday, the public is invited to tour the center of activities from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the head of Rock Lake on Cochecton Turnpike where the collection base camp tent will be located. For free, families can view the specimens, meet scientists of various disciplines, and enjoy a tour of the site to learn how different species live and thrive in the context of the overall property. Teams and sponsoring organizations will provide information and offer educational programs on their particular areas of expertise. Directions and a map are available on the BioBlitz website.

For more information:


During this event, biologists and volunteers will gather to identify as many living things as possible within 24 hours on a demarcated parcel of about 500 acres within the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in the Town of Tusten, Sullivan County, NY. Collection will start at noon on Saturday and continue until noon on Sunday.

Event volunteers and experts in the areas of botany, invertebrates, and bryology are still being sought out.

“This exciting event highlights the richness of the environment in which we play, work and live and helps us see our lives in the context of all the other living things with which we co-exist,” says BioBlitz organizer, Steve Schwartz. “It’s an unusual opportunity for scientists and amateur naturalists to share information with the public about their research. The entire collection of species identified, along with vast biota of microscopic species, is interdependent and nourished by the mineral and organic composition of the soils and the air and water. People experienced in various disciplines working together at this event reflect the interdependence of life in the natural environment.”

A BioBlitz is an event where teams of scientists gather on a demarcated property for 24 hours to collect, identify, and catalogue a single specimen of every single species they can find. The latter part of the event is open to the public for youth and their families to meet the scientists, see what they have collected, and learn more about biology in the context of the site. Teams of researchers will focus on specific categories of life, including aquatic macro invertebrates, birds, botany, fish, fungi, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates, mammals, mosses, and lichens. The scientists are asked to identify what they find down to the species level using specialized methods. Some of this will be done in the field either by photos or visual identification. Other items will be brought back to the collection tables for further identification through careful analysis through microscopes and reference material on site.

All of the data will be compiled into an inventory of species collected during the event and will be publicly available to help future scientists understand what was living on the site at this particular time, including rare or endangered species. Experts will travel from far distances to study this unique area of New York State. Scientists are participating from Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Cornell University, East Stroudsburg University, Penn State University, and other academic, nonprofit and governmental organizations.

A portion of this property is within the National Park Service’s Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River corridor and borders the river at the Ten Mile River landing. The BioBlitz site will also include the Indian Cliffs, Rock Lake, Maul’s Pond, and Grassy Swamp Pond, one of the only quaking bogs to be scientifically authenticated in the Catskills.

Rock Lake, looking from the outflow of the lake, across to the site of the 2014 BioBlitz. Credit: Steven Schwartz.

Rock Lake, looking from the outflow of the lake, across to the site of the 2014 BioBlitz. Credit: Steven Schwartz.

Upper Delaware BioBlitz participating organizations and sponsors include Catskill Mountainkeeper, Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Delaware Highlands Mushroom Society, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Friends of the Upper Delaware River, Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America, National Park Service, Upper Delaware, Scenic and Recreational River, NEPA Audubon Society, Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Open Space Institute, Pennsylvania Native Plant Society, Sullivan County Audubon Society, Sullivan Renaissance, The Nature Conservancy, Thompson Sanitation of Rock Hill, Trust for Public Land, Upper Delaware Council, Wayne County PASA Group, and Verizon Wireless for Wi-Fi access and devices via the Verizon Wireless Network. The Delaware Highlands Conservancy is the Fiscal Sponsor for the event and all contributions to the event through the Conservancy are tax deductible. Funding for this project was made possible in part by a Sullivan Renaissance Environmental Initiatives Grant.

The Upper Delaware BioBlitz has also sponsored a photo contest on Facebook called “Photos of Nature in the Upper Delaware Watershed.” Over 300 amazing photos were submitted during the run of the contest ending in May. The judges, local photographers Sandy Long, Roy Morsch, and David Soete, have made their selections in 8 categories and also selected an overall “Best in Show” winning photograph. Winners will be announced on the BioBlitz website and on Facebook. The grand prize, a digital camera, will be presented at the 2014 Upper Delaware BioBlitz. More information on the photo contest is available at:

In 2013 over 50 scientists and amateur naturalists gathered for the first Upper Delaware BioBlitz on the Norcross Wildlife Foundation’s “Gales Property” at the confluence of the East and West Branches and main stem of the Delaware River. In 24 hours they collected, identified, and catalogued 1,022 unique species of life. Some of the collected species identifications were later confirmed by experts at the New York Botanical Garden and Smithsonian Institution and the insects collected by the Invertebrate team are in the permanent collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia.