Scavenger Hunt Denied (For Now)

Circaea lutetiana (enchanter’s nightshade)

This past Tuesday I had a great idea: go botanizing on Olmstead Island and submit photos to the Maryland Biodiversity Project and the Maryland Plant Atlas. But a bunch of signs along the last stretch of road before the visitors’ center parking lot proclaimed that the walkway to the Great Falls overlook was closed.

It won’t open until some time in July. Apparently repairs are needed. No problem, I can go back another day.

But a little more about the MBP… according to their website:

Maryland Biodiversity Project (MBP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on cataloging all the living things of Maryland.

To do this, they accept recorded sightings (preferably photographic) off animals and plants (and fungi, etc.), with specific locations: not just by county, but by USGS quad. There are 261 quads covering the state!

Click on any quad on the Maryland Plant Atlas quad map and you can see what’s already been recorded, and what the top 100 needs are. Because of the way the quads are arrayed over the state, some of them have very few or even no records.

One of those quads is Vienna, which has only a sliver of Maryland in it: part of Olmstead Island, where the Great Falls overlook is. There are only seven records for that area; I can assure you there are a lot more than seven plant species there!

So, sometime in July, when the walkway re-opens, I’m going to lead a mini bio-blitz and see if I can’t submit more photos to help fill in that quad. I’ll be posting about it on the MBP facebook page and the Maryland Native Plant Society Discussion Group, so if you want to join me, check those spaces for announcements. Or leave a message in the comments of this post.

bee on Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (narrow-leaved mountain mint)

For more information about how to get involved with MBP, visit the FAQs page.

It really is a lot of fun – like a scavenger hunt.

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