Audubon International’s BioBlitz 2016, a species-counting competition held on golf courses across the world, ran from Earth Day, April 22nd, through International Migratory Bird Day, May 14th. This annual competition demonstrates the large diversity of species that call golf courses home, while engaging local interest and support of the green space and recreational opportunities that golf courses provide to their towns. Thirty-three golf courses across the world participated this year, which was the second year of the event. Participants were challenged to identify species at their course by engaging the community and local wildlife experts.
BioBlitz 2016 participants found a total number of 3118 unique species of animals, plants, fungi, and insects during this year’s competition. This total number of species counted reflected a 40% increase from the results of last year’s BioBlitz 2015. This year, 1274 people participated across the world, which is an incredible 78% increase in number of participants from last year!
Across the world, BioBlitz creates an opportunity for school children, community members, golfers, and more to take a closer look at the habitats provided on golf course. Sakonnet Links in Rhode Island reported that “Standing in a tide pool, one young participant remarked ‘this is the best field trip ever!’”
Manager of Membership Services Delphine Tseng co-hosted a BioBlitz event at Bethpage State Park with Director of Grounds, Andrew Wilson, at all five Bethpage courses on Earth Day. Tseng wrote, “Golfers from around the world were enthusiastic to learn about our efforts in creating wildlife habitat on golf courses and wanted to know how they could help.” During the event, a visiting golfer from Scotland remarked, “I wish we had something like this in Scotland!” Of the experience of co-hosting the BioBlitz event, Wilson wrote: “It’s rewarding to show these golfers another side of Bethpage. We have been certified with Audubon International for more than 15 years and it’s important to let the world know what great things golf courses offer.”
Courses which showed exceptional participation in BioBlitz 2016 are awarded with a bluebird art print. Venice Gold and Country Club in Venice Beach, FL won first place in the “Most Species Counted” competition for the second year in a row. Volunteers at Venice Beach spotted, identified, and listed 910 species on their course. The Jekyll Island Club in Jekyll Island, GA was recognized for having the most participants with a total of 161 volunteers who assisted in the species count and identification. The final contest was for the “Best Photograph”. With a stunning photo of a Florida Softshell Turtle, Shadow Wood Country Club in Bonita Springs, FL took home first place. Visit https://www.auduboninternational.org/BioBlitz2016 to see more photos from the competition and a full listing of first, second, and third place in each category.