To celebrate the Centennial of the National Park Service and the biodiversity of this nation, the National Park Service will be hosting the first ever National BioBlitz in parks across the country-hopefully all 408 of them! This BioBlitz quest will be to discover living organisms through public involvement; during these rapid biological surveys-we are looking forward to scientists and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to work together to compile an inventory of biological resources. The National BioBlitz will consist of:
- A major BioBlitz, co-hosted by NPS and the National Geographic Society, at NPS sites in and around Washington, D.C., with an accompanying Biodiversity Festival on the National Mall at Constitution Gardens (thousands of school children and American public are expected to participate);
- Large simultaneous BioBlitzes occurring in identified host parks in different regions of our country—the “Regional Showcase BioBlitzes;”
- Hundreds of concurrent BioBlitzes of different sizes and scopes taking place in national park sites, or refuges or other lands and waters across the United States.
This two-day event will center around a 24-hour inventory period, in which teams of scientists, teachers, children, and other community members will work together on a series of different inventories to identify as many species as possible. One primary data collection tool for all BioBlitzes will be a digital application hosted by the California Academy of Sciences called “iNaturalist” http://www.inaturalist.org and information from all events across the country will be rolled up and broadcast on the National Mall. We will also be working with our inventory and monitoring networks across the country to ensure that quality data is collected, archived and then obviously, utilized. At the end of the National BioBlitz, we hope to have documented thousands of species in different taxonomic groups and engaged tens of thousands of public participants in our national parks. Other large components of these efforts are education and outreach.
In past events, we have documented new species to parks and even new species to science, all the while creating a new generation of stewards of our nation's natural heritage and cadre of citizen scientists.
The NPS will need hundreds of scientists (in DC or elsewhere across the country) who will lend their time and knowledge in leading public inventories (in their areas of expertise), conduct an educational walk or hike or session, or your organization may consider hosting a booth with hands-on learning activities at the Biodiversity Festival.
If you are interested in participating, or if you would like additional information, please contact: Sally Plumb, NPS Biodiversity Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Elaine Leslie, Biological Resources Chief, at email@example.com. Please help us reach your colleagues by spreading the word far and wide. This could be an opportunity to increase citizen science stewardship and engagement throughout the country and develop models, tools, and metrics for use in many applications.