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Biscayne BioBlitz Begins at Dawn

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Hundreds of scientists and National Park service staff from across the United States have assembled south of Miami in Homestead, Florida for tomorrow’s kickoff of the Biscayne BioBlitz, a sweeping 24-hour species inventory that highlights the park’s biodiversity—and things the public can do to help sustain it.

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Nearly 3,000 students, teachers, and public volunteers have pre-registered to participate in the free event, and hundreds or thousands more will likely do so in person over the next few days.

Planning for the Biscayne 'Blitz began more than a year ago. Some of the park's staff joined 2009's Indiana Dunes BioBlitz near Chicago to learn what they might expect.

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For days, behind Biscayne's locked main gate, event staff and contractors have labored to transform the grounds at the park’s visitors’ center into BioBlitz Base Camp. They’ve constructed an outpost for wildlife inventory teams and species identification on remote Elliott Key, miles east across the bay. They’ve raised and wired tents, boosted wireless signals for data transmission, finalized schedules, laid on contingency plans.

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Many of the BioBlitz volunteers, staff, and scientists will be up before dawn tomorrow and on their way to stations across Biscayne Bay. Busloads of students from Miami-Dade County public schools will start arriving at the park before 8 a.m. And at noon, precisely 12 hours from now, the formal species tally begins.

If you're close enough to Biscayne to join the BioBlitz, you won't want to miss it! Get details here.

Can't make it out, but want to keep tabs on all the fun and finds in the park? Not to worry: There will be tweets. You can follow the entire Biscayne BioBlitz here on BlogWild, on NatGeo News Watch, on the National Park Service's BioBlitz Blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Sign up, sign on, and (whatever else you do) get outdoors this weekend and see what's living in your neighborhood.

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Photos of Biscayne National Park by Tim Greenleaf

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