LOS ANGELES (June 3, 2008)—After 24 hours of exploration and documentation, the Santa Monica Mountains BioBlitz provided a snapshot of the many species that call the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area home. Led by more than 125 scientists from around the country, thousands of amateur explorers, families and schoolchildren from the Los Angeles region conducted an inventory of the plants, bugs and other creatures that inhabit the nation’s largest urban national park. The event was presented by National Geographic and the National Park Service in cooperation with California State Parks, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department.
- The initial species count at the end of 24 hours was 1,364. This number grew by several hundred throughout the afternoon as new data were entered. Over the next few months, organizers expect the number to rise significantly as state-of-the-art testing of the collected samples continues.
- More than 5,000 people of all ages participated in the program during the 24 hours, including more than 1,400 kids from the Los Angeles Unified School District.
- Jonathan Levit, actor, magician and host of VH1’s “Celebracadabra,” emceed the closing ceremonies that featured scientists’ highlights and the species count.
- The Celebrate Biodiversity festival that followed the BioBlitz included several bands, talks, nature walks, live animal demonstrations and other activities.
The BioBlitz was part scientific endeavor, part festival and part outdoor classroom. Participants combed the park, observing and recording as many plant and animal species as possible from noon Friday, May 30, to noon Saturday, May 31. Activities included wading in the creek to find fish, sweeping nets through fields to catch butterflies, searching for hidden microorganisms and scouring the night sky for owls, bats and other nocturnal life.
The Santa Monica Mountains BioBlitz is the second of a series of 10 annual BioBlitzes to be hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service leading up to the Park Service’s centennial in 2016. During closing ceremonies Saturday at Paramount Ranch, the BioBlitz flag was passed to the superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, located outside of Chicago, where the third National Geographic/National Park Service BioBlitz will take place May 15-16, 2009.
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