Busey Woods BioBlitz - 2005 & 2019


Friday, September 27, 12pm - Saturday, September 28, 12pm

Anita Purves Nature Center, 1505 N Broadway, Urbana 61801

A BioBlitz brings together scientists in a race against time to see how many species they can count in a 24-hour biological survey. In 2005, the Urbana Park District hosted a BioBlitz and it was a success with 800 people involved in identifying over 1,200 species!

To celebrate Anita Purves Nature Center's 40th anniversary, we are organizing a 2019 Busey Woods BioBlitz event from noon September 27 to noon September 28. The goal is to add species to the Busey Woods list and compare species documented with those found in the summer of 2005.

During the Busey Woods BioBlitz, scientists will be conducting FREE public programs where you can get up-close and hands-on with native species. Space is limited; call 217-384-4062 to sign up in advance. Programs will begin at the toad statue in front of the nature center, on the west side of the parking lot, unless otherwise stated.

Want to Volunteer?

  • Shifts are 3 hours each and start at 10am on Friday, September 27 through 3pm on Saturday, September 28.
  1. Click HERE to go to our invitation page on SignUp.com
  2. Enter your email address (You will NOT need to register an account on SignUp.com)
  3. Sign up! Choose your spots - SignUp.com will send you an automated confirmation and reminders.

Note: SignUp.com does not share your email with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please call 217-384-4062 to sign up.

Program Schedule - Call 217-384-4062 to let us know you're coming

Date Topic Time
Friday, Sep 27 Native Plant Hike 2-3pm
Friday, Sep 27 Aquatic Organisms ID 3-3:45pm
Friday, Sep 27 The World Beneath Your Feet 4-4:45pm
Friday, Sep 27 Dragonflies are Cool! 5-5:45pm
Friday, Sep 27 Bat ID Walk 6:30-7:30pm
Saturday, Sep 28 Bird ID Hike 7-8am
Saturday, Sep 28 Mist Netting & Bird Banding 8-9am
Saturday, Sep 28 Checking Small Mammal Traps 8-9am
Saturday, Sep 28 Mosquito & Tick Collection & ID 9-10am
Saturday, Sep 28 Fun with Fungus 10-10:45am
Saturday, Sep 28 How to use iNaturalist 10-11am
Saturday, Sep 28 Tree ID Walk 11am-12pm
Saturday, Sep 28 Herpetology Hike 11am-12pm



Native Plant Identification Hike with Julie Nieset (Wetland Plant Ecologist, Illinois Natural History Survey)

  • Friday, September 27, 2-3pm
  • There is more to the forest than just the trees! See what flowers are still blooming and what has gone to seed, and learn to identify some of the lesser-known plants in Busey Woods.

Aquatic Organisms Identification with Amanda Curtis (PhD Student, UIUC Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology)

  • Friday, September 27, 3-3:45pm
  • Check out this show-and-tell of aquatic organisms, and learn some basic identification techniques.

The World Beneath Your Feet with Jim Nardi (Research Scientist, University of Illinois)

  • Friday, September 27, 4-4:45pm
  • Discover an entire world of living organisms beneath your feet: nematodes, tardigrades, rotifers, arthropods and more! Examine the soil traps using microscopes and a projector.

Dragonflies are Cool! with Doug Mills (East Central Illinois Master Naturalist)

  • Friday, September 27, 5-5:45pm
  • Learn more about these amazing creatures, ask questions, and if the weather cooperates, take a short walk to see them in action!

Bat Identification Walk with Tara Hohoff (Associate Mammologist & Coordinator of the Illinois Bat Conservation Program, Illinois Natural History Survey)

  • Friday, September 27, 6:30-7:30pm
  • During this acoustic walk, you will see the echolocation calls of bats in real time using an ultrasonic microphone. Bat species will be identified based on the sounds they produce.

Bird Identification Hike with Sara Johnson (Vice President, Champaign County Audubon Society)

  • Saturday, September 28, 7-8am
  • What bird is that? Practice identifying bird species by their shape, markings, behavior and sounds. Bring your binoculars if you have them!

Mist Netting & Bird Banding with Tara Beveroth (Ornithologist, Illinois Natural History Survey)

  • Saturday, September 28, 8-9am
  • Help a professional ornithologist capture birds in a "mist net", record data, and band birds as you learn about the importance of banding and monitoring.

Checking Small Mammal Traps with Jean Mengelkoch (Mammalogist, Illinois Natural History Survey)

  • Saturday, September 28, 8-9am
  • Assist with checking the live traps that were set the night before and see what small mammals are living in Busey Woods.

Mosquito & Tick Collection & Identfication with Drs. Andrew Mackay & Holly Tuten (Vector Ecologists, Illinois Natural History Survey Medical Entomology Lab) and Kylee Noel (INHS PhD Student)

  • Saturday, September 28, 9-10am
  • Retrieve mosquito traps from Busey Woods, then learn how to identify different mosquito and tick species visually and with the aid of microscopes.

Fun with Fungus with Dr. Andrew Miller (Principle Mycologist, Illinois Natural History Survey)

  • Saturday, September 28, 10-10:45am
  • Check out this show-and-tell of mushrooms and other fungus that has been collected during the BioBlitz, and learn some basic identification techniques.

How to Use iNaturalist with Jon Hoekstra (Assistant Professor of Biology, Heartland Community College)

  • Saturday, September 28, 10-11am
  • Learn about iNaturalist, the date-collection and management program being used for the BioBlitz. Participants who have downloaded the app on their phones can try it out and get help troubleshooting.

Tree Identification Walk with Carol Augspurger (Professor Emerita, University of Illinois)

  • Saturday, September 28, 11am-12pm
  • Investigate leaf samples and learn what clues to look for when trying to identify a tree. Then, take a short walk along the boardwalk trail to explore tree bark and growth habits.

Herpetology Hike with Dan Olson (Director of Operations, Champaign Park District)

  • Saturday, September 28, 11am-12pm
  • Look for reptiles and amphibians during this guided hike. Find out what species have been recorded so far, and maybe see some live herptiles up-close!

Using iNaturalist

How to join an iNaturalist project        iNaturalist Video Tutorial



Busey Woods: Quick Forest Facts

Busey Woods is a 59-acre remnant of Big Grove, a large woodland area that grew along the drainage of the Saline Branch and the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River. This grove, an island of trees in the midst of a prairie sea, once extended from Urbana to Rantoul and from the Saline Branch to the Salt Fork. It was originally an area comprising 10 square miles of trees surrounded by wet tall grass prairie growing on soils of glacial origin. Busey Woods and a section of the district's Weaver Park are the only surviving parcels of the Big Grove that are open to the public.

Staff at the Anita Purves Nature Center use Busey Woods for a number of programs that meet the environmental educational goals established by the Illinois State Board of Education. In addition, 20,000 visitors use the woods on self-guided tours annually. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources recognizes Busey Woods as a Watchable Wildlife Site.