Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
VENTURA FWO: 24 Hours to Count All You Can
California-Nevada Offices , May 30, 2008
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Ashleigh Blackford, Ventura FWO
Biologists from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office and National Geographic joined the  National Park Service during its second annual BioBlitz in the Santa Monica Mountains  May 30-31.  The BioBlitz is a 24-hour event in which teams of volunteers are led by scientists on a mission to inventory of all the plant and animal species which occur in the park.  Seven biologists from the Ventura FWO were lucky enough to join in the BioBlitz fun.  Leading teams which inventoried, plants, birds, aquatic invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies, Ventura’s staff helped contribute to the reported 1,364 species identified. 

The event provided an excellent opportunity for biologists to interact with the public, and share our knowledge and joy of wild things.  Mark Elvin led groups identifying plants, and one of his members was inspired to begin their first plant collection, gathering and pressing his first plant specimens during the survey.  Ashleigh Blackford helped a Boy Scout troop earn an outdoor merit badge, while Michael Glen explored tide pools with more than 50 school children into the evening after leading a survey for reptiles and amphibians.  Kate Eschelbach identified benthic invertebrates using microscopes with approximately 90 students from Vine Street Elementary school along with another biologist from Santa Monica Mountains Resource Conservation District. 

Thousands participated in the event which included more than 180 planned field expeditions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains including Griffith Park, Paramount Ranch, Topanga State Park, Malibu Pier and Lagoon, King Gillette Ranch, and Leo Carrillo State Park.  More than 1,400 children and teens attended the event with their teachers on school fieldtrips and an additional 1,200 participants pre-registered independently. The event began at noon on Friday May 30 and completed at noon on May 31.  At the main base camp at Paramount Ranch, participants and biologists mingled through the 40+ exhibitors’ tables while a band played to complete the big event. 

The NPS-sponsored BioBlitz provides an excellent opportunity to expose the local community to the natural wonders in their local parks. The NPS will take sponosr a bio-blitz in a different park each year leading up to the U.S. National Park Service centennial in 2016.  Next year’s NPS BioBlitz will be at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a 15,000-acre urban park in Illinois.

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov
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