Land Snails and Millipedes on the Parkway
How can you protect what you don’t know you have? The National Park Service is charged by Congress with conserving “the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein” for all the lands under its care. Americans can do this best when they know what plants, animals, and fungi—the “wild life”—is found on those lands. Recently, the staff of the Blue Ridge Parkway has been partnering with taxonomists, volunteer citizen scientists, school children, and Hands on the Land to conduct inventories of important invertebrates along the Parkway.
In 2015, this team conducted an inventory of bumble bee species from the north end of Shenandoah National Park to the south end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was spurred on by the reported disappearance of several species of bumble bee in the east, one of which—the rusty patched bumble bee—is now classified as an endangered species. Though none of the missing bees were found, the group did find 10 other species and provide material for a study of how genes flow between bee populations across long distances.
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