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Next Saturday, May 21, 2016 will be an exciting day at Homestead National Monument of America and parks across the country. Why? Because a Centennial Bioblitz is happening! To celebrate 100 years of stewardship, the National Park Service is planning a shared nation-wide quest to discover and document biodiversity –the variety of living organisms in a place. Everyone, young and old alike, is invited to be part of the celebration as national, as well as state, parks across the country host bioblitzs on May 21, 2016. To learn more about other bioblitzs in Nebraska visit outdoornebraska.org/bioblitz.
At the Homestead National Monument of America Education Center experts will be leading groups of volunteers (that's you!) to look for and record: birds from 7-9:30 am;plants from 10 am –noon;and insects from 12:30-2:30 pm. Help with as many sessions as you like. Data will be collected using the iNaturalist app, but you do not need a device to participate, everyone is welcome!
You are also invited to discover something new at a Biodiversity Fair that will be happening at the Education Center from 10 am –3 pm. Join Dr. Tom Powers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to learn about the wonderful world of nematodes! These microscopic, worm-like creatures live in the soil, and just about everywhere else, making them the most abundant multi-cellular animal on Earth!
Homestead's biological technician Miles Lampo will be helping visitors discover the variety of aquatic macro-invertebrates that live in Cub Creek. Macroinvertebrates are animals without a backbone that can be seen with the naked eye. These bottom-dwelling animals include crustaceans and worms but most are aquatic insects. Beetles, caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies, hellgrammites, dragonflies, true flies, and some moths are among the groups of insects represented in streams. Macroinvertebrates are an important link in the food web.
Other Biodiversity Fair activities include testing your knowledge of mammals by matching their skin, skulls, tracks and scat;and a Critter Craft Corner where you can create your own Homestead species!
Bring the whole family! There is something for everyone at Homestead National Monument of America. The National Homesteading Museum at the Heritage Center features interactive exhibits on the history and impact of the Homestead Act of 1862, including the award winning video Land of Dreams. Do you have ancestors who homesteaded? Look up their names on the Homestead Land Records Computers at the Heritage Center. The Homestead Junior Ranger booklet will be available to help guide your family exploration of the park and earn a cool Junior Ranger badge! And to help celebrate the Centennial of the National Park Service, you are invited to become a Centennial Junior Ranger. Complete 5 –10 activities in the Centennial Junior Ranger Activity Book and earn a special, wooden Centennial Junior Ranger badge!
"The act that created the National Park Service in 1916 stated the purpose of the parks is to conserve the natural and historic objects and the wildlife in a manner that will leave them unimpaired for future generations. Homestead National Monument of America has both natural and historic objects. We are excited about this wonderful opportunity for visitors to learn more about all that Homestead has to offer," said Mark Engler, the monument's Superintendent.
Remember, Homestead National Monument of America has an exciting schedule of events planned for 2016, the Centennial year of the National Park Service. Keep up with the latest information by following us on Twitter (HomesteadNM) and Facebook (Homestead National Monument of America).Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska and 45 miles south of Lincoln. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free of charge. For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit https://www.nps.gov/home/