BioBlitz 2012 at Rocky Mountain National Park

Last week, human beings landed a remote laboratory on the surface of Mars. Its whole purpose is simply to go somewhere wild and see what’s there, and we call this machine “Curiosity.”

There is only one such robot.

But there are 7 billion humans. And more than enough curiosity to go around.

Join us for 24 hours starting at 2:00pm ET this coming Friday, August 24, when National Geographic, the U.S. National Park Service, and thousands of kids, parents, scientists, and park rangers will steer their curiosity towards the natural wonders of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado for the sixth annual BioBlitz.

Rocky Mountain National Park begins just west of the Great Plains, and rapidly ascends to peaks as high as 14,000 feet above sea level. There are deep valleys, soaring mountains, winding streams, pine forests, huge grassy meadows, and Iceland-like tundra. It is also home to the headwaters of the Colorado River, once mighty enough to carve the Grand Canyon, but now diverted and drained to such an extent that it no longer reaches the ocean (see an interactive map).

Kids crouch down to observe all the tiny life forms in the desert at the 2011 BioBlitz in Tucson, Arizona. Photo by Pete Gregoire.


Forshadowing the style of Curiosity's mohawked flight director, a young attendee at the 2011 BioBlitz makes his own contributions to science. Photo by Linda Merz.

The mission for BioBlitzers is to identify every living thing they can find. In the process there will be hiking, night walks, microscopes, music, poetry, and a whole lot of fresh air.

No matter where on Earth you are, you too can take part in BioBlitz by following updates on Twitter using #BioBlitz, Project Noah,, and this blog.

Best of all, you can join us for a live Google+ Hangout starting at 3:30pm ET on Friday, where you can interact with NG Explorers like Juan Martinez, Corey Jaskolski and others as they take you around the BioBlitz festival and bring some of the great outdoors to you.


We can’t all embark on a 352-million-mile journey to explore another planet, but all we have to do is step outside to explore our own.


Learn More

National Geographic & National Park Service BioBlitz



Changing Planet


Meet the Author
Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.