More than 30 guests, including black rat snakes, snapping turtles, birds and voles, joined the Radford University student chapter of The Wildlife Society (RUTWS) Saturday at Selu Conservancy for its annual Bioblitz.
"It was a fun and rewarding day for all," said Karen Powers, associate professor of biology and RUTWS chapter adviser. "Everybody was able to learn wildlife handling techniques that are marketable and valuable to those who wish to better understand the plants and animals around them."
Matt Close, assistant professor of biology, brought the snapping turtle and black rat snake and showed the safe way to catch a snake and handle a turtle in the wild. Close was joined by colleagues Gary Cote, professor of biology, who led a wildflower walk and Professor of Biology Bob Sheehy and John Kell, biology instructor, who led a bird walk. Virginia Tech's School of Forestry and Natural Sciences demonstrated radio telemetry, bat catching and measurement techniques, and electro-fishing, a non-lethal fish sampling protocol.
The early spring day in the field was capped by a barbecue dinner, cooked by Associate Professor of Education Tricia Easterling. Bioblitz capped a productive 2013-2014 RUTWS season as the 20-member group cleaned up local wetlands at Claytor Lake State Park, visited a captive bear facility and Mill Mountain Zoo, made a series of professional research presentations at the Virginia TWS annual meeting.