The NPS/National Geographic Society BioBlitzes

Wild nene from the BioBlitz in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz
Wild nene from the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz.

NPS Photo.

Exploring Biodiversity Together

Since 2007, NPS and the National Geographic Society have collaborated to host one large-scale BioBlitz per year for the ten years leading up to the NPS Centennial in 2016. Each year the BioBlitz is hosted by a different national park close to a major urban area. The two day event includes a 24 hour inventory period in which subject matter experts and citizen scientists work together to identify as many species as possible. The event also includes a biodiversity festival, featuring hands-on learning activities, speakers, and exhibits. Click on each of the host parks below for details.

The first National Park Service/National Geographic Society BioBlitz took place on May 18-19, 2007. A wide breadth of taxonomic groups was examined, including amphibians and reptiles, invertebrates, birds, fish, fungi, mammals, plants, insects, and more.

The Numbers:
  • 1,000 participants
  • 661 species found

For more information, visit the Rock Creek Park website.

The Santa Monica Mountains NPS/National Geographic Society BioBlitz (May 30-31 2008) was accomplished through collaboration with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, California State Parks, and Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department.

The Numbers:
  • 6,000 participants
  • 1,700 species found

For more information, visit the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area website.

Beginning May 16, 2009, more than 150 scientists, assisted by 2,000 grade school students and other members of the public, explored the sand dunes, lake shore, forests, wetlands, prairie, and streams of Indiana Dunes National Park (formally National Lakeshore). The excitement persevered through driving rain and high winds.

The Numbers:
  • 6,000 participants
  • 1,200 species found

For more information, visit the Indiana Dunes National Park website.

On April 30-May 1, 2010, 2,500 citizen scientists worked with their professional counterparts to explore life in one of the nation’s largest marine national parks, Biscayne National Park. More than 800 species were found, including a number of species rare to the park, such as the mangrove cuckoo, and silver hairstreak butterfly. Also 11 species of lichen and 22 species of ants were found that had not previously been documented in the park.

The Numbers:
  • 2,500 participants
  • 972 species found

For more information, visit the Biscayne National Park website.

Two thousand students and 150 scientists, attended the 2011 Saguaro BioBlitz, (October 21-22) for a 24 hour inventory period. Included in that total species count were more than 400 species, mostly invertebrate animals and non-vascular plants, which were previously unknown in the park. The accompanying Biodiversity Festival had an integrated art program that included pieces featuring local species, created by local students, seniors, and artists.

The Numbers:
  • 5,500 participants
  • 859 species found

For more information, visit the Saguaro National Park website.

On August 24-25, 2012, more than 150 scientists joined forces with 5,000 people of all ages and backgrounds to seek out the living creatures in Rocky Mountain National Park. Inventories took place in various ecological life zones, including ponderosa pine forests, the subalpine region, the tundra, and mountain meadows. Among the overall total of 490 species discovered, 138 were previously unknown to be in the park. A companion festival at the Estes Park Fairgrounds advanced and celebrated public awareness of biodiversity.

The Numbers:
  • 5,000 participants
  • 490 species found

For more information, visit the Rocky Mountain National Park website.

The NPS/National Geographic Society BioBlitz at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (May 17-18, 2013), brought together leading scientists and naturalists from around the country and local citizens of all ages. Inventories included herpetofaunal counts, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrate inventories, avifauna observations, and native and non-native plant surveys. Participants also used technology, such as tree cameras and smartphones, to record and understand the diverse ecosystems of this unique national park. At the time of the event’s closing ceremony, 458 species had been identified, including a rare Louisiana milk snake, 288 plants, and 122 invertebrate specie.

The Numbers:
  • 3,000 participants
  • 458 species found

For more information, visit the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve website.

On March 28-29, 2014, participants in the BioBlitz at Golden Gate Park sites, including Pt. Reyes National Seashore, Muir Woods National Monument, the Presidio of San Francisco, Mori Point, and Rancho Corral de Tierra observed and recorded biodiversity in habitats ranging from the redwood canopy to windswept beaches. Highlights included the first ever canopy survey of redwoods at Muir Woods, the first-ever, park sighting of a climbing salamander in Muir Woods; sightings of great horned, spotted, barred and saw-whet owls; and a mountain lion at Corral de Tierra.

The Numbers:
  • 9,000 participants
  • 2,350 species found

For more information, visit the Golden Gate National Recreation Area website.

Working under the theme of I ka nānā no a ’ike (“By observing, one Learns”), traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, “alakai’i,” were integrated into the survey teams, providing a holistic approach to the research and exploration activities. More than 170 leading scientists and alakai’i, teamed with thousands of public participants of all ages to explore one of the most fascinating biological landscapes in the world. Together they documented species that thrive in ecosystems from sea level to the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. Exciting finds included 22 new species added to the park’s species list, and sightings of 73 threatened species, including the nēnē and Kamehameha butterfly. The number of fungi species on the park’s list more than doubled, with 17 new fungi documented at the close of the event.

The Numbers:
  • 6,000 participants
  • 491 species found

For more information, visit the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park website.

The National Parks BioBlitz continued throughout the country in 2016! To celebrate 100 years of stewardship, the National Park Service guided a shared nation-wide quest to discover and document biodiversity. Many occurred from May 20-21, 2016 and throughout the Centennial year. Thousands celebrated at the Biodiversity Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Numbers:
  • More than 8,000 participants
  • 13,135 species found

For more information, visit the National Parks BioBlitz page.

Re-live Over a Decade of BioBlitz!

Last updated: March 4, 2019


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