BUTLER -  Washita National Wildlife Refuge Manager Amber Zimmerman said  Monday is the last day to sign up for a biology-oriented camping program.

The program is part of the University of Oklahoma Biological Survey's (OUBS) BioBlitz 2012, Zimmerman said, which will be held Oct. 5 through Oct. 7 at adjacent Foss Lake Park.

During BioBlitz, professional and amateur scientists conduct a 24-hour inventory of plants, animals, algae, and other living things, which they discover at Foss Lake, said OUBS Event Coordinator Priscilla Crawford.

Foss Lake is on the south side of the wildlife refuge.

"The event rotates around the state each year," Zimmerman said. "This is the first time we've had it at Washita, since it began in 1996. We already have 200 signed up, so we're expecting about 300 in all."

OUBS said the annual species count is held to educate people about the vast biodiversity which can be found "right in their own back yard."

BREAKDOWN OF ACTIVITIES

As part of the BioBlitz, participants will scour the Foss Lake area from 4 p.m. Oct. 5 until 4 p.m. on Oct. 6, searching for living things to record on a master list they will be given.

For the afternoon of Oct. 5, Crawford said they will take a bird walk, learn the basics of insect collecting and get to know common plants.

That night, actual insect collecting will be performed, there will be a family hike and a butterfly slide show.

Oct. 6 is also packed with programs, Crawford said. They include an early-morning light breakfast, butterfly and bird walks, fish seining and a nature/ecological crafts activity.

The day concludes with the viewing of the film, "Where Did the Horny-Toad Go?" which is about conservation measures for the rarely-seen animal.

The film is a documentary, and there's a link to its production on the BioBlitz site at www.biosurvey.ou.edu, Crawford said.

"Also, the full rundown of all the activities are on the website," Zimmerman said.

WHAT TO TAKE ALONG

"When going camping, it's always a good idea to bring water, sunblock and insect repellent," Zimmerman said.

Since the only food will be a snack the night of Oct. 5 and the light breakfast Oct. 6, she also recommended bringing food.

"There are coin-operated showers at the campsite, so bring a towel and toiletries," Crawford added.

Sturdy shoes, long pants and a hat are also in order for wearing on the nature hikes.

A camera, notebook, writing utensils, small capture nets, a magnifying glass and binoculars should probably be included to enhance the experience, officials said.

Crawford said if visitors arrive and don't have some of the items, like the nets or a magnifying glass, they can be checked out at the park.

REGISTRATION IS ONLINE ONLY

Registration fees for the event vary for adults and students. However, pre-school-aged kids are admitted free.

The fees entitle the participants to tent camp at Foss Lake for the nights of Oct. 5 and Oct. 6.  

"There is no on-site registration," Crawford said. "That must be done online by going to www.biosurvey.ou.edu."

In addition to visiting the website, contact Crawford for more information at (405) 325-7658.