Tanya Hall, Chief Ranger at HMSP and a graduate of the Virginia Master Naturalist training class, expressed great pride in the completion of this joint venture. “The results of the biological survey were impressive, and we even found evidence of a few species of plants and animals we hadn’t previously known about.”
Shauna Russell, president of the Holston Rivers VMN chapter, said the project was a perfect way to enlist the talents of local VMN volunteers while also supporting an important partner. “Our local VMN members volunteer all the time at Hungry Mother, but this was a bigger project than usual! It was great to have the chance for VMN to be vitally involved in this historic event.”
In the end, thirteen different partners, nearly 80 volunteers (30 of whom are Virginia Master Naturalist volunteers), and numerous community businesses were involved in the project, and together they identified over 450 different species of plants, animals, insects and organisms -- including 137 plants, 30 species of moths and butterflies, 71 types of trees, and 34 different fish.
The BioBlitz also had important outcomes for the Holston Rivers VMN Chapter. Various VMN graduates from years past became involved once again, and numerous new recruits experienced their first time volunteering in citizen science. Many of these individuals stated they want to do this again next year and that they would like to come to Hungry Mother State Park and volunteer throughout the year. Project leaders think it not only inspired people, but that it also showed individuals what they are capable of. This project increased their confidence in their skill and knowledge of the natural world and now they know they do have something to offer no matter how big or how small.