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Volunteers needed to help take inventory of Powell Butte wildlife

COURTESY PORTLAND PARKS & RECREATION - The meadow bluebird is an example of one of the birds volunteers will survey at Powell Butte.Volunteers are needed to spot wildlife in the Powell Butte Nature Park as part of an effort to survey the amphibians, butterflies and birds that call the area home.

You may see a Satyr Anglewing butterfly or perhaps a giant salamander. You also might notice a pileated woodpecker or a great horned owl.

“We want to educate people on the biodiversity in the parks,” says Emily Lytle, the stewardship equity coordinator with Portland’s Nature Department. “This is a way for the community to learn more about ecology and take part in science.”

The event is the Powell Butte Eco-Blitz, where volunteers of all ages can work alongside scientists to compile a snapshot of ecodiversity. It is a one-day occasion that will have open times between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 21, at Powell Butte.

“We know we have a wide variety of wildlife that make their home in parks and natural areas like Powell Butte,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “This Eco-Blitz is a wonderful chance to learn more about what animals are there, their numbers and to foster education about the importance of protecting them.”

Portland Parks is coordinating the event in partnership with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council. It’s also a program of the U.S. National Park Service and East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District — both of whom are supporting funding for the event.

The Powell Butte Eco-Blitz is part of an attempt to raise awareness of biodiversity, generate appreciation of natural resources, and establish a shared effort between science professionals, educators and the public. Volunteers will be asked to pick a time slot and monitor their assigned species.

The length of the surveys will be about two hours, which includes time to hike into the designated area for each group. The first excursion of the day will be birding at 7 a.m., with the rest of the surveys taking part through the remainder of the afternoon.

“We have a community identification expert in the field who has experience taking small groups of volunteers on a route recording all of the species they see,” Lytle says.

The experts will both train the volunteers and identify the animals seen throughout the day. They will lead participants on predetermined routes.

The result of the event will be the creation of a shared database of regional species and resources, continuing the ongoing effort to inventory and catalog the Portland-Vancouver metro area’s wildlife.

“I hope our neighbors are as excited as I am about this fun and important volunteer opportunity,” Abbaté says.

No experience is needed, and any age is welcome. The event is free, with materials, food and drinks, and instruction provided onsite. Participants are recommended to wear long, thick pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes.

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