To celebrate the U.S. National Park Service's 100th birthday, National Geographic is hosting a BioBlitz at a different national park every year during the decade leading up to the centennial celebration in 2016. Rocky Mountain National Park was chosen to host this year's event.
So, what exactly is a BioBlitz? For 24 hours, scientists, students, teachers, volunteers, and science junkies will work together to identify as many species in the park as possible. That means plants, insects, birds, fish, mammals—even fungi. By offering scientists and community members a chance to conduct fieldwork together, coordinators hope to highlight the importance of ecosystem biodiversity.
Everyone is welcome, but the event is especially important and entertaining for young people. "We are the first mountain ecosystem highlighted," says Kyle Patterson, Public Information Officer for Rocky Mountain National Park. "This is an extremely unique event in our own backyard and an incredible way to connect kids to science and nature."
The BioBlitz's companion event, the Biodiversity Festival, will be held at the Estes Park fairgrounds Friday and Saturday, August 24 and 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 40 exhibitors will have hands-on activities, science and ranger demonstrations, speakers, and live animals. You can even graduate from "Biodiversity University." When the sun starts to set on Friday, break out the blankets and enjoy live music, an outdoor movie, and a photo presentation (from National Geographic, so you know it's gonna be good).
Register for the BioBlitz here.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock