BioBlitz 2011: Saguaro National Park & Electronic Field Trip

Mark your calendars, BioBlitz 2011 is just around the corner and it’s going to be the best yet! The annual celebration of biodiversity takes place this year on October 21-22 in Saguaro National Park, Tuscon, Arizona and online as a free electronic field trip. Information about the live event, how to register for the electronic field trip, schedules, goals, links, and more are provided below thanks to National Geographic Education, and the partners of BioBlitz 2011–Enjoy!

2010-10-29_0000081.JPGSummary of BioBlitz:
BioBlitz is a 24-hour event in which teams of volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members work together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms as possible. A BioBlitz gives adults, kids, and teens the opportunity to join biologists in the field and participate in bona fide research expeditions. It’s a fun and exciting way to learn about the biological diversity of local parks and to better understand how to protect them. National Geographic is helping conduct a BioBlitz in a different national park each year during the decade leading up to the U.S. National Park Service Centennial in 2016. –www.natgeoed.org

Group and individual registration is now available online. Families, schools, clubs, scout troops and other groups are encouraged to participate. For questions or to receive updates and registration information when available, send an email to bioblitz@ngs.org.

Goals of the Saguaro BioBlitz:

  • Count, map, and learn about the park’s diverse organisms, ranging from microscopic bacteria to migrating birds, elusive mountain lions to 200-year-old cacti.
  • Provide scientists, school kids, and the general public an opportunity to conduct fieldwork together.
  • Add to the park’s official species list.
  • Highlight the importance of protecting the biodiversity of this extraordinary place.

2009-06-11_0522349.JPG


Information for those participating electronically:
Stuck in Kansas? No worries! Teachers, families and interested individuals can still be part of the action by registering for the electronic field trip and watching live as the BioBlitz team works away in Saguaro. Register for the Electronic Field Trip through the National Park Foundation website.

If you’re feeling inspired after the field trip, plan your own bioblitz! A great hands-on activity for students, a bioblitz can just as easily happen on your playground, in your garden, or backyard. Check out all of our free educational resources to gather ideas, play with interactive maps, media, and more, brought to you by National Geographic Education. Make sure you check out the information for live participation to learn more about what’s coming on October 21st! Also, stay tuned to hear the latest events, news, and additional educational information through our blogs and Facebook pages:

Blogs:
Nat Geo News Watch: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/tag/bioblitz/
My Wonderful World: http://blog.mywonderfulworld.org/

Facebook:
Official BioBlitz page:  http://www.facebook.com/BioBlitz
Nat Geo Education page: http://www.facebook.com/natgeoeducation

2009-05-21_0499100.JPG2011 Biodiversity Festival:
A biodiversity festival will take place in conjunction with the BioBlitz at Saguaro National Park on October 21st and 22nd. The event will host a full schedule of music, dance, American Indian culture, live animal demonstrations, and talks from leading scientists from around the country.

One presentation you won’t want to miss is J. Michael Fay, renowned naturalist, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and Wildlife Conservation Society scientist.  Fay, who received global attention for his 2,000-mile walk across the wilds of Africa and his more recent Redwood Transect, will be speaking about his Tucson Transect.  In the week leading up to BioBlitz, Fay will walk and document every living thing he sees, beginning in the Rincon Mountains of the east side of the park, crossing the city, and ending in the Tucson Mountains.  Fay, who hasn’t been to Tucson for nearly three decades, began his early research in the area, receiving his B.S. from the University of Arizona.  Fay’s presentation will be on the main stage Saturday, October 22, at 1:30 p.m.

The Festival will also feature 40 “interactive exhibitor booths” ranging from hot topics and current trends in technology to efforts in wildlife conservation and health care; a section dedicated to sharing and exploring a community Art project and exhibit; and a variety of local foods and beverages. Admission is free and open to earth lovers of all ages. No advanced registration is required for the festival and parking will be provided within the park.

If you are a parent, teacher, or local friend of the Tuscon community and really want to be a part of this event,  please consider attending as a “BioBlitz Ambassador” or event volunteer! All volunteer registration for the live event should be completed online in advance.

Partners: National Parks Foundation, Encyclopedia of Life, Project NOAH, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Friends of Saguaro National Park, Tucson Electric Power, and more.

Additional questions, comments, or success stories from the event can be directed at our e-mail, NatGeoEd@ngs.org
Photo Credits: Ipsit Vahia, Linda Conrad & Greg McCown
–Julia from My Wonderful World

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