Bioblitzes build bridges

Biscayne National Park, Florida–The 24-hour bioblitz currently underway here is the first marine bioblitz in the U.S. and only the second in the world, says John Francis, head of National Geographic Research, Conservation, and Exploration.

Biscayne Bioblitz 2010.jpg

This is also the fourth bioblitz that National Geographic and the U.S. National Park Service have organized in a national park. The previous blitzes were in Rock Creek Park (Washington, D.C.), Santa Monica Mountains (Los Angeles) and Indiana Dunes (Chicago).

National Geographjic is dedicated to inspiring people to care about the planet, Francis said in an interview. But as more and more people are urbanized they are less and less aware of their role in the natural world, he said.

Bioblitzes allow us to celebrate biodiversity in the national parks with leading scientists who go out with students and the public and teach them what’s in the natural world.

The Biscayne National Park bioblitz includes 1,500 students, which Francis sees as “planting the seeds for the next generation.” A lot of the students will come away from the experience thinking about themselves as part of the natural system, he added.

The bioblitz also changes scientists who come away knowing a lot more about what’s in the national parks, he said.

So bioblitzes are all about building bridges…not only to students but also to the scientific community who serve the national parks.

Posted by David Braun

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More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn