Citizen scientists wanted for Summer of Bugs event at Valley Forge park

VALLEY FORGE — Valley Forge National Historical Park and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University are partnering in the Summer of Bugs, a summerlong inventory of the park’s terrestrial invertebrates, better known as land bugs.

Together, the park and the Academy invite those interested in learning about and contributing to the research to act as “citizen scientists” by observing and participating in a 24-hour BugBlitz on August 23-24. Activities are available for “scientists” of all ages and experience levels.

Follow the park and entomologists from the Academy and share your discoveries by using the hashtag #summerofbugs.

Earlier this year the park conducted its first 24-hour BugBlitz and identified more than 400 different species of invertebrates.

“We discovered quite a bit of bug diversity here in Valley Forge this spring,” said Amy Ruhe, natural resource manager at Valley Forge park. “Conducting blitzes during two different seasons will provide the greatest opportunity to catalog the variety of species in the park and enable more volunteers to participate in the activities. We’re looking forward to having greater public participation this time around.”

Academy experts and other entomologists will begin their 24-hour field search for terrestrial invertebrates at noon on Aug. 23. Researchers back at base camp will catalog specimens and keep an ongoing count of species reported.

All events are free and open to the public. Select events require advanced registration and have recommended age and skill levels. All events will take place in or around the park’s Visitor Center.

Meet the Entomologists

Aug. 23 from noon to 5 p.m. and Aug. 24 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Visitors of all ages are welcome to visit base camp to meet the entomologists and to enjoy the outdoor exploration stations on Saturday. Other activities have specific age and registration requirements.

Insect Exploration Stations

Aug. 23 from noon to 4 p.m.

Outside of the Visitor Center, local organizations such as Wildlands Conservancy and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will have displays on insect diversity, examples of insectivores (carnivores that feed on bugs), and other information and activities focusing on these amazing little creatures.

Go Take A Hike!

Aug. 23 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Not sure about field work but interested in seeing what bugs live in the park? Get up close and personal with insects during an easy, educational guided hike led by Academy experts. Be sure to bring your camera and add your observations to our Summer of Bugs PhotoBlitz on iNaturalist.org. Hikes will leave from base camp and may require a short drive to the trailhead. No registration required.

Daytime Field Work with the Researchers

Aug. 23 from noon until 3 p.m. and Aug. 24 at 10:30 a.m.

Spend an hour in the field with professional bug researchers and help them collect samples. All ages are welcome; however children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Please be aware of personal limitations when signing up for field work. We will be walking varying distances over uneven terrain in hot and often full sun conditions. Field work may require a short drive to survey location.

Advanced registration is required. Please email or call Amy Ruhe, Valley Forge NHP Natural Resource Manager, at 610-783-1036 or amy_ruhe@nps.gov.

Night Trapping with the Researchers

Aug. 23 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Join entomologists as they search the night for nocturnal insects. Advanced registration is required. Space is limited. Email or call Amy Ruhe at 610-783-1036; amy_ruhe@nps.gov. Details on what to bring and meeting location will be provided after you register.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a leading natural history museum dedicated to advancing research, education, and public engagement in biodiversity and environmental science. Learn more about the Academy at www.ansp.org.

For more information about Valley Forge NHP, visit our website at www.nps.gov/vafo or call 610-783-1099. Learn about the park’s upcoming programs and special events on the Schedule of Events page.

Continue the conversation on the park’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ValleyForgeNHP and share your photos and experiences.