“So what is a BioBlitz anyway”, by far the most common question we get from the public who visit our parks and other venues offering the event.
A BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. Scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members work together to get an overall count of the plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms that live in a place.
For the past decade the National Geographic Society and National Park Service have collaborated on a BioBlitz in a different park each year. This year in order to celebrate the NPS centennial, over 250 BioBlitzes are happening across the country and throughout the year. The resulting recordings can be impressive with hundreds of organisms showing up. It is great fun, a celebration of life in all of its myriad forms
My first experience occurred two years ago at the Golden Gate NRA where several thousand folks joined us. One of many highlights was standing on the Golden Gate bridge with a bunch of college students during a wind driven rain storm counting porpoises swimming through far below. Joining us was a lead mammologist who had been researching the return of these remarkable beings. The porpoises had been excluded from the bay by a massive cable net installed during WWII to prevent enemy submarines from entering the bay. Many new species of life were added to the Park list as is often the case.
Last year I joined the Hawaii Volcanoes NP for another grand experience including many native Polynesians adding a marvelous cultural component to the experience, then on to Yellowstone NP where my team investigated pika numbers near Mammoth Hot Springs. The park is especially concerned with the warming trend and reduction of snow pack on their long term survival.
I just returned from blitzing New Mexico’s Bandelier NM. As with Hawaii Volcano, they included a strong cultural presence by inviting in the Pueblo people to perform and exhibit their rich life ways. During the two-day event 17 inventory teams collected 877 observations and identified 363 species.
Back home we had our first event on the Logan River golf course a week ago sponsored by Audubon International and our local Bridgerland Audubon chapter. For our first run we did well. 57 bird species, 67 plants, 1 reptile, 1 amphibian, and a few fungi made the list. There are many more species that were overlooked given our short window of time and limited numbers of observers.
Perhaps you will find opportunity to join a Bioblitz, or create one of your own in your area. Gather up some folks, load the I Naturalist program on your smart phone or I pad and spend a few ours or few days reveling in what nature has to offer- many surprises to say the least!
This has been Jack Greene reading for WAU.
This is Jack Greene reading for Wild About Utah.
National Parks BioBlitz, National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/subjects/biodiversity/national-parks-bioblitz.htm
Audubon International BioBlitz 2016, Audubon International, https://www.auduboninternational.org/BioBlitz2016
BioBlitz 2016, National Geographic Society, https://nationalgeographic.org/projects/bioblitz/