Presidential Inauguration
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Bioblitz!Sponsored by SUNY-ESF and Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps

September 12-13, Onondaga Lake

Bioblitz Online

  1. See results via the Onondaga Lake Bioblitz project at  Or, get the iNaturalist app in the iOS or Android app stores.
  2. Revisit and continue the conversation via hashtag #esfbioblitz.


Friday, 9/12

  • 3 p.m. Bioblitz Begins

Saturday, 9/13

  • 3 p.m. Bioblitz Ends
  • 4 p.m.Reporting of results, Gateway Center, ESF Campus.

Bioblitz!Sponsored by ESF & Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps

September 12-13, Onondaga Lake

  • Twenty-four continuous hours discovering and cataloging the species of Onondaga Lake and its shores!

From plants to mammals, from fish to birds, the Onondaga Lake BioBlitz was a unique opportunity to explore the lake’s biodiversity and discover new species. Working side by side, community volunteers and SUNY-ESF faculty and students inventoried and identified every species of plant and animal that could be found in 24 hours. While participating in the research, the citizen scientists learned about the natural diversity of the Onondaga Lake watershed and how to protect it.

The BioBlitz was a part of SUNY-ESF President Dr. Quentin Wheeler’s Inauguration Week activities and served to draw attention to biodiversity and conservation.

The Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps seeks to inspire future stewards of Onondaga Lake and its watershed through a hands-on, experience-based program that offers citizens and organizations the opportunity to participate in activities that help restore and sustain Onondaga Lake and its value as an Important Bird Area. Founding partners of the Conservation Corps include Montezuma Audubon Center, Onondaga Audubon Society, Parsons, O’Brien & Gere, and Honeywell.

Onondaga Lake’s water quality is the best it has been in nearly 100 years, and the BioBlitz provided an opportunity to discover the effect of the lake’s renewal on the local environment.

ESF Faculty, Staff and Student Schedule for Inaugural Bioblitz

Vascular plants

Martin Dovciak, Don Leopold, and their graduate students led an inventory of plants at Long Branch Park beginning at 4 pm Friday at the Long Branch Park parking lot. Sampling went until 7 pm. At 5:30 pm Friday plants were displayed at the Bayview Tent Shelter.

At 8:45 am Saturday Martin met people at the Willow Bay parking area to inventory plants. At 9:00 am Saturday Don Leopold met at in the parking area near the Salt Museum to inventory the lakeshore up to Willow Bay.

Tony Eallonardo met people interested in the salt marsh remnants at noon Saturday at the Danforth ponds which is on the south end of the parkway. Sampling went until 3 pm.

Robin Kimmerer and Moss Ecology students were at the Bayview Tent Shelter identifying and displaying bryophytes at 9:00 am Saturday until 2:00. Field surveys were going on Friday at 4:00 at the Long Branch Parking Lot and Saturday at noon to explore marsh communities. People interested in joining in the field survey of mosses met at the Bayview Tent Shelter at 10:00 on Saturday.

Plankton (phyto and zoo)
Upstate Freshwater Institute and Kim Schulz sampled from 3 to 4:30 pm on Friday leaving and returning at the marina if people wanted to see gear and samples at those times. Kim was at the Bayview Tent Shelter from noon to 2 pm Saturday to show off plankton and images/ids

Neil Ringler and graduate student team showed off their live catch from their boats at 10 am Saturday at Visitor Center, again at 12 noon Saturday at the Visitor Center. Fish were also shown at the Bay View Tent Shelter on a continuous basis (in tanks) Friday evening and Saturday until 2 pm. Fish were captured in large-mesh gill nets, trap nets (overnight sets), electroshocker (at night), minnow traps, and seines.

Aquatic biota in tributaries, etc. near the Lake
John Farrell, Karin Limburg, and Andrew Miano were the Honeywell Visitors Center at 5 pm Friday and at the Bayview Tent Shelter Saturday at noon to show their samples

For the public to join in the sampling:

9:30 AM Saturday - Mouth of Onondaga Creek. Meet at Inner Harbor Park, West Kirkpatrick Street between Van Rensselaer and Solar streets.

12:15 PM Saturday - Bloody Brook, Onondaga Lake Park. Parking available in the park.

Shannon Farrell, members of the ESF Birding Club, members of TWS, other ESF student volunteers lead field surveys starting at Fri 4 pm at Long Branch Park; plans for Saturday were to meet at the marina near the Yacht Club at 9 am and separate groups at Long Branch Park & Inner Harbor at noon. Birders were also deployed to other areas that may be less optimal for public access. Beth Folta had spotting scopes at the Bayview Tent Shelter to facilitate public viewing from that area.

Peter Iacono & members of the ESF Student Chapter of TWS, John Bateman, and Stew LaPan had specimens collected for public viewing at the Bayview Tent Shelter during the bioblitz.

Mike Fishman set up mist nets and acoustic equipment along the West Shore Trail (John Haley Memorial Trail) and Lakeland Trail at the north end of the Lake (parking lot to the south of Long Branch Road and west of the Lake outlet) on Friday afternoon, and opened the nets at sunset. He and others interested checked nets every 10 minutes from sunset until about 1 am, at which point, they shut down for the night. Mike retrieved acoustic equipment in the morning, and spent the day taking photos of whatever wildlife encountered.

Ron Giegerich, Jonathan Cohen, & members of the ESF Student Chapter of TWS had specimens collected for public viewing at the Bayview Tent Shelter starting at 9 am on Saturday.

Amanda Cheeseman with TWS students lead a mammal sign walk for the public, starting at the Bayview Tent Shelter at 9 am on Saturday.

Alex Weir set up scopes at the Bayview Tent Shelter where the public coud stop by and see IDs. Alex lead a fungi walk at noon Saturday, starting at the Long Branch Park parking lot.

Tom Horton collected mushrooms in the Long Branch area starting at 3 pm Friday afternoon. At 5 pm Friday, Tom talked about the mushrooms he found, at the Glen shelter.

Insects and Snails
The Entomology/Snail group was available to the public Friday from 4-7:00 and Saturday from 9-12:00 with microscopes, display boxes, outreach materials, a kids activity as well as a display of our different trapping methods to show the public and insect collecting methods in the Bayview Tent. Sat morning insects were identified from Friday afternoon and the Saturday night lighting.

A few entomologists were at the tent Sat from 12-3:00, but our focus was on taking down traps (flight intercept, pitfall and pan) and madly identifying what we caught in them from 12-3:00 on Sat so we could report out by 4:00 at Gateway.

One or more members of Team Snail lead members of the public in land snail surveys at the following times (met at Bayview Tent, where the Entomology Group was stationed): Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

A member of Team Snail was also be available at the Bayview Tent throughout the Bioblitz and was available to answer questions while he or she was sorting snails. We had a few dissecting scopes set up to help members of the public see the snails.

Bill Shields and Barb Hagar could be found during the bioblitz wandering around the lake, looking for flying and perching adults, exuvia and nymphs. People could join them at any point in time but should have brought their own nets if they wanted to help catch the dragonflies. They were at the Bayview Tent Area sorting dragonflies later in the evening on Friday and after noon on Saturday.