Conservation Using The Bio Blitz Concept
“Addressing the identifications and classifications of organisms worldwide are just six thousand experts, of which about half reside in the United States so to move the explorations of earth’s flora and fauna forward, the overworked researchers need more boots on the ground and more fresh ideas.”
- E. O. Wilson, The Creation
A. Wikipedia A Bio Blitz, also written without capitals bio blitz, is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a short, usually 24 hour, time. There is a public component to many Bio Blitzes, with the goal of getting the public interested in biodiversity. To encourage more public participation, these Bio Blitzes are often held in urban parks or nature reserves close to cities.
What is a Bio Blitz?
A Bio Blitz is a short (usually one-day), intense team effort to discover as many different life forms as possible in one location. This often involves researchers and the general public working together to identify as many species as possible in a 24 hour period. The Get to Know Bio Blitz puts a fun new spin on this concept, by offering short, youth-focused events that are all about connecting with nature through cool art activities developed in consultation with iconic artist and naturalist Robert Bateman. Youth of all ages are invited to join biologists, park interpreters and naturalists as they learn the names of plants and animals around them and take part in the unique activities organized at each Bio Blitz location. Depending on where they live, youth might get a chance to try their hand at species identification, photography, wildlife sketching, writing about nature, or the discovery of the natural history of their area. No two Bio Blitzes will be the same, as each one will be a reflection of the local environment.
Each Get to Know Bio Blitz will be an opportunity for youth to not only enhance their appreciation of the environment through art and exploration, but also to engage in true citizen science. This will be done through the iNaturalist Mobile Application, which makes use of the Encyclopedia of Life’s Species Collections, allowing participants to document species and upload their observations to a collective map that is available freely online. Participating Bio Blitz sites will feature custom species lists, available both in the app and as printed field guides, to help with species identification.
What do Bio Blitzes Do?
When the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory started in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park reason for doing it was because the Park service felt that they were working with a Park that they really didn’t know much about. They know that they had about 10,000 species listed in the park but most scientists believed that there were at least 90,000 – 100,000 species yet to be discovered. How could the Park Service say that they were managing this Park if they didn’t know but 10% of all the species? If fact, none the Parks in the National Park system know more than about 10% of it’s species. Bio Blitzes are a way that the Park can start looking at for all of these species and participation of the general public!
Course Citizen Science is not just for students and it is not just in National Parks, this is beauty of this Project. This Project is for anyone who is curious about the natural world. Anybody who photographs, paints, writes, computes, sings or hikes can be involved, and you don’t need to go to a National Park to participate. You can do this in a state park, a town park, a campus, a playground or you own back yard.
I have worked as a photographer for the ATBI for 20 years. When I learned about Citizen Science and Bio Blitzes, it altered my perspective and changed me from a Nature Photographer to a Conservation and Bio Blitz Specialist. After that, I became involved in almost 50 Bio Blitzes from California, Arizona to Colorado, Maine to Massachusetts, and South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Photography has been my focus, but I understand fully the requirements for hosting a Bio Blitz and can work with organizations that want to host their own, or just want to learn more about them. I have a lot of information and several presentations and videos, as well as more than 5000 images on the subject. It is my goal to develop a successful series of lectures and workshops to be held around the country.
Bio Blitz Goals
• Discover, count, map, and learn about the living creatures in the park.
• Provide scientists and the public with an opportunity to do fieldwork together.
• Add to the park’s official species list.
• Highlight the importance of protecting the biodiversity of these extraordinary places and beyond.
Questions and BioBlitz Updates Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Discover Life in America will develop a model for research in biodiversity. DLIA will use this knowledge to develop and disseminate information to encourage the discovery, understanding, preservation, and enjoyments of natural resources.
The All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, a project of Discover Life in America, seeks to inventory the estimated 100,000 species of living organisms in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and to develop checklists, reports, maps, databases, and natural history profiles that describe the biology of this rich landscape to a wide audience. The species level of biological diversity is central to the ATBI, but the project is developed within an ecological and conservation context and encourages understanding at other levels of organization, including genetic variation within species and ecosystem descriptions.
A BioBlitz is a 24-hour event in which teams of volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members work together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms as possible. National Geographic is helping conduct a BioBlitz in a different national park each year during the decade leading up to the U.S. National Park Service Centennial in 2016. The 2015 BioBlitz heads to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, May 15 and 16. Learn more about the park from the National Park Service.
From hikers to hunters, birders to beach-combers, the world is filled with naturalists, and many of us record what we find. What if all those observations could be shared online? You might discover someone who finds beautiful wildflowers at your favorite birding spot, or learn about the birds you see on the way to work. If enough people recorded their observations, it would be like a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone could use to learn more about nature.
Our knowledge of the many life forms on Earth - of animals, plants, fungi, protists and bacteria - is scattered around the world in books, journals, databases, websites, specimen collections, and in the minds of people everywhere. Imagine what it would mean if this information could be gathered together and made available to everyone – anywhere – at a moment’s notice.
Past Bio Blitzes
The 2014 BioBlitz explored the many parks of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco. The 2013 BioBlitz was a celebration of “Bayou” diversity at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. The 2012 BioBlitz reached new heights at Rocky Mountain National Park. The 2011 BioBlitz was held in Saguaro National Park. More than 5,000 people combed the east and west sides of the park flanking Tucson, Arizona. In 2010, Biscayne National Park, near Miami, Florida, was the first ever marine BioBlitz. Volunteers at the 2009 Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore BioBlitz turned up more than 1,200 species (download a PDF list here) compared with more than 1,700 in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in 2008 and more than 650 in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park in 2007.