What is a BioBlitz?
A “BioBlitz” (also called a “Biodiversity Day”) is an action-packed day designed as educational event, scientific endeavor, and part community service event. It brings together scientists and the public in a race against time to see how many species they can count in a 24-hour biological survey of a given area. The very first BioBlitz took place in 1998 in Walden Woods, Massachusetts. Its success inspired similar events in a dozen European countries and many US states. In Massachusetts alone, the MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs has sponsored statewide BioBlitzes in over 300 Massachusetts towns.
The BioBlitz is designed to increase the public’s awareness of the variety of life in their immediate area and the services these various species provide to improve the quality of their lives. We usually hear the word “biodiversity” in regard to rainforests with their vast number of species. Yet the diversity of life in our own backyards is phenomenal. We take for granted clean water, fertile soil, and air to breathe. Yet these are all the result of working ecosystems filled with species that provide these resources. From our morning shower to our late-night snack, we are supported by biodiversity every minute of the day. What better way to address the topic than to invite people to share in our 24 hours of discovery and to experience the vast array of species that we can find in their area park in just one cycle of the day?
The BioBlitz is an excellent tool for exciting children about science. These events generate energy and enthusiasm among scientists and lay people alike. It is rare for biologists from many disciplines to have the opportunity to get together, share their passions with each other and the public, and work towards a common goal.