Guest blogger Dayne Weber is a social media contractor with National Geographic Education. She is a former National Geographic Geography Intern who loves maps and water, and believes geography is an important subject because it informs every interaction we have with each other and the world.
On March 28-29 the National Park Service, National Geographic Society, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the Presidio Trust put on a highly successful BioBlitz! BioBlitz 2014 was a 24-hour all-out dash by scientists and citizen scientists to find and identify plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and more. It took place in several national park units including Muir Woods National Monument, Fort Point National Historic Site, and other locations in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
There were a record number of participants – over 9,000students, teachers, families, naturalists, scientists, and citizen scientists from all over the country participated in this year’s BioBlitz. This high attendance rate was to be expected, as Golden Gate National Recreation Area was the most visited National Park unit in 2013, with over 14 million visits.
BioBlitz’s citizen scientists identified a record-breaking 2,304 species! Eighty of them had never before been documented in the parks, and at least 15 are threatened species. Participants used the iNaturalist app to take photos of their observations. See the FieldScope map of where all these observations took place.
Here are just a few great shots of the species identified over the short time period:
To see more photos of species identified, visit the BioBlitz collection on the Great Nature Project.
Friday’s visitors to BioBlitz included many school groups. Students on inventories were excited to get outside and explore. On inventories, participants go into the field in teams led by experts. They discover, count, map, and record species as varied as bacteria, fungi, flowers, bugs, and birds.
One inventory group released a Guadalupe fur seal that had been rescued and treated by the Marine Mammal Center.
Saturday brought rain, but that didn’t stop the dedicated Blitzers. They continued their inventories outside and explored the Biodiversity Festival.
Under the tent at the festival, students were able to watch scientists identify and catalog the species found in the field. This provided a valuable learning experience, as the students could see the importance of their discoveries.
There were also many discoveries to be made in other areas of the festival! One popular booth was Tree Frog Treks, where kids could hold snakes and geckos! The National Geographic Education Engineering Exploration Challenge area gave kids the opportunity to use their imaginations to solve problems our explorers face in the field. You can participate in the NGX Challenge at home by visiting NatGeoEd.org/NGX.
Thank you to all of the volunteers and participants, the National Park Service, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. We are already looking forward to BioBlitz 2015, which will take place in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park!
Couldn’t make it to BioBlitz 2014? Don’t despair! There are many ways to still get involved. Check out the data we gathered using FieldScope. Then, do a BioBlitz in your own backyard! Written by Dayne Weber, National Geographic Center for Geo-Education