It's the time of the year when Cessnock's native animals come out to play, and the community is invited to learn more about our local bushland this weekend at the Bioblitz at Poppethead Park, Kitchener.
A BioBlitz is a citizen science event in which scientists and naturalists work with the community to explore their local area with the aim of recording as many species as possible, while learning more about the local flora and fauna.
A large proportion of Cessnock's bushland is considered to be a biodiversity hotspot, with critically-endangered species such the Regent Honeyeater having been found there.
Due to the significance of the Cessnock area for conservation, the event has attracted some highly-skilled ecologists and botanists, including staff from the University of Newcastle with doctorates in the field.
"It's a unique chance for people to learned from such skilled people," Cessnock City Council's sustainability officer Karinda Stone said.
On Saturday there will be a spotlighting event from 7pm to 9pm, while Sunday's program runs from 7am through to 3.30pm and will be full of exciting events for the whole family.
There will be an early morning bird survey at 7am, ecologists' walk and talk (9.30am, 11am and 2.30pm), a cultural walk with an Indigenous ranger at 12.30pm, and a nature photography session at 1.30pm and a fungi walk at 2.30pm.
The local trail bike police are also coming along and there will be lots of information stalls, plus a Rotary sausage sizzle and a cake stall by Stanford Merthyr Infants School.
A skilled children's educator will be running a jam-packed kids program on the Sunday.
"It's a good opportunity to get the kids moving out and around and enjoying nature play, without a cost," Ms Stone said.
Participants must wear sturdy shoes and bring a water bottle, and are encouraged to bring their own binoculars (limited sets will be available).
Bookings are encouraged for adult activities, while the kids program does not require registration.
For more information and bookings, visit www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/Bioblitz.
WHAT'S ON AROUND CESSNOCK THIS WEEKEND
Friday - Spring Awakening, Cessnock TAFE grounds, 6pm-9pm
Saturday - Picnic for Women's Health Week at Miller Park, Branxton, 8am.
Saturday - Finding Yellow spring market, 92 Station Street, Weston, 9am-2pm.
Sunday - Support Cessnock Markets Under The Dome, East Cessnock Bowling Club, 10am-4pm.