BioBlitz event to celebrate Biodiversity Festival at Rocky Mountain National Park | SkyHiNews.com
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BioBlitz event to celebrate Biodiversity Festival at Rocky Mountain National Park

Reid Tulley
rtulley@skyhidailynews.com

The National Park Service and National Geographic Society are teaming up to host a 24-hour BioBlitz species count and a two-day Biodiversity Festival, Aug. 24-25, in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The BioBlitz is a 24-hour activity that will focus on collecting inventory of the parks diverse plant and animal populations.

At least 200 leading scientists and thousands of local students and citizens will comb the park, observing and recording as many plant and animal species as possible in 24 hours.

Inventory activities include counting elk, catching insects, spotting birds, exploring and examining aquatic invertebrates and using technology to better understand the diverse ecosystems of the national park.

“This will be a great family event, and we invite everyone who knows Rocky, or wants to know the park better, to get involved,” said Vaughn Baker, Rocky Mountain National Park superintendent. “There is amazing biodiversity that exists within the park and in our own backyards. We hope locals and visitors will participate in this one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect even deeper with this special place.”

Children ages 8 and older may participate in discovery teams with their parents. Pre-registration for discovery teams closes on Aug. 18, but there will be some spots available on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the event. Visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/projects/bioblitz/bioblitz-co-2012/ to learn about the different discovery sites and to register.

Spaces are still available for the BioBlitz on Aug. 24 at Holzwarth Ranch.

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, who is scheduled to attend some events, said, “The BioBlitz offers each of us, especially young people, the opportunity to discover and connect to nature. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the National Park Service’s 96th birthday on Aug. 25.”

National Geographic has had a close relationship with the National Park Service since it helped draft legislation to establish the Service in 1916.

National Geographic has given grants to establish or sustain national parks and has extensively covered the parks in its media for nearly a century.

The Rocky Mountain National Park BioBlitz is part of the organizations’ latest joint venture. It is the sixth of 10 annual BioBlitzes that will be conducted at national park units around the country, leading up to the National Park Service’s centennial in 2016.

The first annual BioBlitz took place in 2007 at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. The others have been at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California in 2008; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2009; Biscayne National Park in Florida in 2010; and Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011.

In addition to the BioBlitz the Biodiversity Festival will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 24 and 25, at the Estes Park Fairgrounds, located at 1209 Manford Avenue in Estes Park.

The Biodiversity Festival will feature music, live animals, science demonstrations, hands-on activities provided by prominent science and environmental organizations, and food and art.

The event is free and is open to “explorers” of all ages. Members of the public can even “graduate” from Biodiversity University by participating in select activities.

No registration is required for the festival. For a schedule of events, go to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz.


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