Engaging Citizens in Biodiversity Discovery

Photos of BioBlitz activities.
Left: A volunteer collects samples from a stream during a BioBlitz.
Right: NPS employee helping identify species collected during a BioBlitz

NPS Photos

In America’s heartland, citizen scientists document biodiversity of national parks one Micro-blitz at a time. Natural resources in these parks provide the historical scene of important events and are often overlooked. Micro-BioBlitz are mini BioBlitz events that focus on a few, under-studied groups or habitats. At each event, 20-40 volunteers and a few experts team up to conduct the targeted inventory. Micro-BioBlitz events require limited time and money to host. Coupled with iNaturalist, these events provide a long-term, sustainable approach to inventory park resources. Parks also engage visitors by coordinating Micro-BioBlitz events with other park activities.
In 2016, twelve Micro-BioBlitz events, conducted by nine parks, involved 244 volunteers. These volunteers identified 1,142 unique species, and added 213 new species to parks’ lists. The events reached more than 1,400 visitors through event booths and educational programs (Hinsey and Johnson, 2015).

What is a BioBlitz?

More Information

Hinsey, J. A. and T. M. Johnson. 2015. Planning and conducting a BioBlitz event at a National Park Service unit. Natural Resource Report NPS/HTLN/NRR—2015/935. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado. Available from the DataStore.

2016 National Parks BioBlitz surpasses 100,000+ biodiversity observations for 100th birthday.

Last updated: August 18, 2017