The Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Maribor Held the BioBlitz Contest
The regular BioBlitz contest was held on 10–11 June 2016, which was also attended by students from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of the University of Maribor. On Friday 10 June, the students held two separate workshops entitled “Who’s Afraid of Spiders?” and “Useful Plants in our Environment”.
The students prepared all the material for these workshops.
During the “Who’s Afraid of Spiders?” workshop, the pupils were assigned to look for caught insects in cups and glass bottles hidden inside the tree trunks and in the grass in the nearby forest. Then they had to define the found insects using the image identification keys. The participants intercompared the characteristics of each insect and thereby tried to classify them to an appropriate group: Arachnida, Crustacea, Myriapoda, and Insecta.
Through screening and monitoring with hand lenses, they also independently examined and searched for small animals in the forest soil.
The pupils also demonstrated their knowledge in solving puzzles and quizzes about animals. Upon the study completion, the animals were carefully returned back to their habitat.
The “Useful Plants in our Environment” workshop attracted pupils with the fresh elder juice. During a short walk in the neighbourhood of the Veržej football field, the pupils reviewed the basic
species of trees and shrubs. The plants that the pupils did not manage to recognize immediately were defined later using the image identification keys. They also discussed the medicinal and poisonous plants. They tried to determine by smelling what kind of plant is in question, and for which purposes it is mainly used (for example, St. John’s wort is used in tea). The participants devoted a few words to the exotic and invasive species. They also examined Impatiens Glandulifera in the neighbourhood.
Upon the completion of workshops, the pupils competed in the “Find the Threesome” game. Three special cardboard cards were prepared for each plant: a plant photo, a plant name, and a plant description. Among the variety of different descriptions, names and sketches, the pupils had to find the proper threesome. The pupils sowed great interest, which speaks for good organization of the workshops. The students and members of the Biology Department of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Maribor took care of ensuring a positive image of the Faculty.