Volunteers to catalog plants and animals that call Milo McIver park home during upcoming event

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MAYA GOKLANY - The Clackamas River and neighboring areas will be the focus of the Walama Restoration Projects upcoming BioBlitz event at Milo McIver State Park.

An upcoming event will invite attendees to discover the different species of plants and animals that make their home in Milo McIver State Park.

The Walama Restoration Project will sponsor a BioBlitz in the park along the Clackamas River from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 17. During a BioBlitz, attendees attempt to observe as many species as possible in a specific area outdoors. Naturalists will be available to help identify participants' findings.

Once attendees locate plants or animals, they can upload an image of their discovery using the iNaturalist smart phone app. The app then creates a catalog of the species in the area.

Maya Goklany, volunteer and outreach coordinator for the Eugene-based Walama Restoration Project, said the nonprofit organization strives to connect the public with opportunities for environmental stewardship and education. She added that the BioBlitz is "a great opportunity for citizen science projects."

She also noted that there are many opportunities for interesting discoveries at Milo McIver State Park.

"Along the river, there are lots of opportunities for birding and amphibians. There are some nice riparian communities," she said.

Leaders with the Walama Restoration Project are equally enthusiastic about looking for plants.

"We've heard there might be some rare plants. It could be exciting to find those at McIver," Goklany said, noting that if these species are discovered, their exact location should not be shared in order to prevent poaching.

She added that there are several plants on the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center watch list and candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act that the group hopes to catalog.

The Walama Restoration Project is particularly interested in cataloging species at Milo McIver because they are also working with the U.S. Forest Service to create a pollinator garden in the Clackamas River Ranger District. Identifying plants that are native to the area will help with the project.

Another goal of the BioBlitz event is to make note of any invasive weeds.

"It will help the State Parks (staff) to get a log on where they're growing," Goklany said.

On Saturday, the Walama Restoration Project will have signs at Milo McIver guiding people to the BioBlitz.

"We really want to engage the public and community in Estacada," Goklany said.

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