BioBlitz: An example of citizen science in National Parks

This past weekend the 2011 BioBlitz, sponsored by National Geographic and the National Park Service, was held in Saguaro National Park in Arizona. A BioBlitz is an intense day of biological sampling where experts team up with the public to try to catalog as many living things in an area as possible.  Each year National Geographic and the National Park Service organize a 24 hour BioBlitz in one of the Park Service units (the 2010 BioBlitz was held at Biscayne National Park in Florida and in 2009 it was at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore).

Saguaro Cactus in Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park also used the BioBlitz as a way to celebrate the biodiversity in their desert ecosystem. Saguaro turned their BioBlitz event into a 2-day celebration centered on biodiversity, outreach, and education. Although the NPS and National Geographic state that the goal of a BioBlitz is to “catalog all living things” – more realistically the goal is to education the public about biodiversity, involve citizen scientists in data gathering, and hopefully make a more complete record of the biota of that particular NPS unit.  The Saguaro National Park BioBlitz was a success and a summary of the species cataloged will be made available soon.

References:

National Geographic BioBlitz Homepage

National Park Service Biodiversity Resources

National Park Service Biodiversity Involvement

Saguaro National Park Youth Ambassador BioBlitz Blog

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