Volunteers needed for 2016 BioBlitz

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service needs your help counting all the different species that live in 100 national parks across the country.

At the 10th annual BioBlitz, scheduled for May 20 and 21, experts and volunteers will tally the different species in the parks, including several in the D.C. region.

“It’s estimated that 80-90 percent of species living in national parks are so far undetected,” said Mike Litterest, spokesman for the National Park Service. “We’re looking for volunteers [and] citizen scientists who want to come out and join inventory teams with professional scientists to help conduct these inventories.”

BioBlitz started in 2007 with a small survey of animals in Rock Creek Park. This year, it’s being expanded to 100 parks to commemorate the park service’s 100th anniversary on Aug. 25.

“There’s a little something for everyone, and there’s no experience necessary,” Litterest said. “With global warming and other threats, national parks are becoming critical reserves for wildlife across the country.”

Each blitz takes a few hours. There are several events planned at 13 area national parks throughout the weekend.

BioBlitz options in the D.C. area include:

  • Early morning birding adventures on Theodore Roosevelt Island
  • Pollinator surveys in Piscataway Park
  • Meadow exploration and fish counts in Rock Creek Park
  • Wetland exploration in Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
  • Spider surveys at Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
  • Butterfly surveys in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • Discovery of stream insects at Manassas National Battlefield Park
  • Acoustic bat inventory at Constitution Gardens on the National Mall

If you want to volunteer, sign up here. Advanced sign-ups are encouraged.

BioBlitz will also feature a two-day Biodiversity Festival at Constitution Gardens on the National Mall.

The festival will feature hands-on science exhibits, food and art, yoga classes and family-friendly entertainment and activities.

The festival will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, with a special evening of science fun planned for Friday night.

The BioBlitz is a joint project between the National Park Service and National Geographic.

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