Bioblitz Kickoff: 12pm PDT May 30, 2008

The Santa Monica Mountains BioBlitz is underway!

“Take a look around,” said Ray Sauvajot, chief of planning, science, and resource management for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “This is what we’re exploring, from Griffith Park all the way out to the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains at the Oxnard plane and Mugu Lagoon…. Jump over the top of these hills and you’re down at the coast. All these places provide habitat for different species, and we’re going to find them.”

KNBC-TV meteorologist Pablo Pareira hosted kickoff remarks with a sunny forecast. Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service’s Pacific West Region, dedicated the BioBlitz to the memory of the late Jill Swift, a former teacher who loved to hike and helped lead the effort to create the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in the 1970s. Director of California State Parks Ruth Coleman celebrated the state’s commitment to keep all the parks in the region open despite a tough economy.

National Geographic Vice President for Research, Conservation and Exploration John Francis called the National Parks “America’s hearth: They reflect what we value, what we love.” U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman, a champion for the nearly-complete Backbone Trail that spans the Santa Monica Mountains, noted that in this park so close to Los Angeles “we’ve kept nature near the kids. With gas at $4 a gallon, that’s a good deal!”

Duke University professor and conservation biologist Stuart Pimm summed up why we ‘Blitz: “We know so much about our universe. And I get to travel to exciting places all around the world, looking at nature. But here, just over the hills from Los Angeles, we don’t fully know what’s here.”

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