WHAT IS A BIOBLITZ?
A BioBlitz helps increase our awareness of the diversity of life in a localized area. During a BioBlitz we keep a catalog of the total biodiversity, via a species list. Often we hear the word biodiversity when referring to the tropical rainforests - yet the diversity of life in our own backyards and wild places like Montana’s grasslands is phenomenal. Clean healthy ecosystems are a result of this biodiversity. Understanding the number and diversity of species in a given area helps us understand the health of the ecosystems that sustain the clean water, air, and the healthy soils that we all enjoy. A BioBlitz is usually designed as part contest, part festival, part educational event, part scientific endeavor. It is a great opportunity to raise awareness about a specific area and generate public awareness and interest from scientists, researchers and volunteers.
HISTORY OF BIOBLITZES IN MONTANA
The first BioBlitz in Montana was held along the Yellowstone River in Billings in 2007. In 2009 Yellowstone Park conducted their first BioBlitz, which received considerable media attention. The Yellowstone project documented over 1079 species in just 24 hours with 120 participating scientists and volunteers. Preeminent biologist and Harvard professor E.O. Wilson, who serves on American Prairie Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Council, co-sponsored the first BioBlitz event to catalog organisms around Walden Pond in the mid 1990s.