Archive for the ‘national geographic’ tag
Each year since 1996, the National Geographic Society joins with the U.S. National Park Service to host one BioBlitz, and this year it will be held down on the bayou! On May 17th-18th citizen scientists will join field biologists to map and inventory the living creatures in the Big Easy’s Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve.
A BioBlitz is a 24-hour biological survey during which volunteer scientists and park officials guide teachers, students and families to catalogue an area’s biodiversity in a brief but intense manner. Located on the Mississippi River delta, Jean Lafitte Barataria Preserve is a 23,000-acre wetland containing an astounding diversity of plant and animal life. This includes nutrias, 200-plus bird species, and various marsh, swamp and forest plants and insects. Volunteers will be led by park officials and expert scientists who will help guide the cataloging process.
This is a unique opportunity for non-scientists to conduct real fieldwork that will contribute to the park’s official species list. Last year’s volunteers included over 2,000 schoolchildren! But the event is not all notebooks and specimen bags. In true Nawlins style, this event will include a Biodiversity Festival, with music, food, art, and fun!
Sustaining biodiverisity is of both biological and economic importance. Now, BioBlitzes are held in various countries around the world and are opportunities for scientists to engage and educate the public about biodiversity a fun and interactive way. Look for one near you!
Locations of past NGS/NPS BioBlitzes include Saguaro National Park, Arizona, Biscayne Bay, Florida and Indian Dunes National Lakes. Last year, over 5,000 volunteers participated and catalogued 489 species of plants and animals in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.
Volunteer registration opened April 14th, and inventory groups fill up quickly! If you are interested in volunteering for any part of the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more about the project at National Geographic’s website. Scientists interested in volunteering should visit this link for more specific information. There are also additional learning resources for educators.
Attention all backyard explorers and rosebush whackers: this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Your days of leading patient parents on perilous neighborhood expeditions are over. Put down that “machete.” Stop mushing the dog. Grab your merit badges. Adventure is calling!
This Friday, August 24, the National Park Service and the National Geographic Society will host their annual BioBlitz species count at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Hundreds of students and thousands of local citizens will join about 200 scientists, naturalists, and explorers from around the country to collect and analyze wildlife data, transforming the forest into a massive outdoor classroom alive with curiosity and discovery.
“I am always moved by the commitment of the National Parks Service to protecting our country’s ecological diversity and sharing it with the general public,” said Daniel Edelson, Vice President for Education at National Geographic. “The BioBlitzes are…explicit strategies for preparing young people to care for their world.”
National Geographic has been “inspiring people to care about the planet” through its magazine since 1888, but it is relatively new to the business of “preparing” them to do so. With the rapid proliferation of digital media, the society saw an opportunity to provide teachers and students with the resources to learn (curricula, films, games) and the tools to take action through a more robust educational initiative, thus engaging with their audience in ways never thought possible. Can’t make it to Colorado to catch bugs, spot birds, and count elk on Friday? You can take part in the action via their Google Hangout starting at 3 PM (EST), or even plan your own BioBlitz by following their instructions.
“It’s exciting to see that other people are embracing the concept and using the resources we developed to conduct their own biodiversity research in their own parks in their own communities,” said Sean O’Connor, a BioBlitz project manager.
This year’s BioBlitz, the sixth in a series of ten leading up to the National Park Service’s Centennial in 2016, comes amidst the strain of another round of federal budget cuts and continued lack of funding for the program. As the National Park Service prepares to face the challenges ahead—political, economic, environmental, or otherwise—National Geographic aims to show its next generation of stewards why its 397 parks encompassing ver 84 million acres of land are worth preserving.
“We believe [the most important lesson] we can teach young people is how interconnected our world is,” said Edelson. “Even in our most pristine National Parks, you can’t escape the impact of human activities on the natural environment. A BioBlitz is a chance for young people to see those impacts and learn about the connections between their own actions and the health of ecosystems.”