- About Bioblitz
- Bioblitz 2019
- Citizen Scientists and Participants
- Class Field Experience
- Scientists/Experts and Volunteers
- General Volunteer Job descriptions
- To educate about and foster appreciation for East Baton Rouge’s biodiversity with the public through hands on exploration and citizen science
- To provide valuable baseline data to BREC’s Conservation Program on the distribution of species on BREC land
- To bring attention to BREC’s conservation areas and the efforts of the Conservation Department to protect these resources for the education and enjoyment of EBR’s citizens
Grab your field guides and boots and join BREC naturalists and local scientists as we document the diversity of life, or "biodiversity", at Hooper Rd. Park! This is a full 24 hours event starting on Friday and ending Saturday afternoon where experts and citizen scientists will search on land and water to find and identify as many species as humanly possible.
Day 1 – Friday, April 5, 2019
|8:00 am – 2:00 pm||Middle School and High school Field Experience*|
|2:00 – 6:00 pm||Independent Surveying|
|6:00 – 6:30 pm||Hike Registration|
|6:30 – 7:30 pm||Night Hike|
|7:30 – 9:30 pm||Black Lighting: Insect sampling|
*Teachers please review the Class Field Experience Handout for more detailed information about trip scheduling.
Day 2 – Saturday, April 6, 2019
|7:00 am – 12:00 pm||Bird Banding Demonstration|
|8:00 – 10:00 am||Plant Hike|
|9:30 – 10:30 am||Aquatics Hike|
|10:30 – 11:00 am||Scientist Speed Session 1|
|11:00 am – 12:00 pm||Insects, spiders and kin Hike|
|12:00 – 12:30 pm||Scientist Speed Session 2|
|12:30 – 1:30 pm||Reptile and Amphibian Hike|
|1:30 pm||All Survey Data submission deadline|
|1:30 – 2:00 pm||Scientist Speed Session 3|
|2:00 – 2:30 pm||Scientist Speed Session 4|
|2:30 pm||Species Count Announcement|
|3:00 –5:00 pm||Break Down|
Information for Participants/Citizen Scientists
What is a Bioblitz?
A Bioblitz is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all of the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period, usually 24 hours. BREC Conservation uses the Bioblitz data to focus future field surveys and gather information for our natural resource management plans. It allows us to have a better understanding of what is in our parks so we can appropriately manage and protect the land.
What is a Citizen Scientist?
A citizen scientist is someone from the general public who collects and analyzes data relating to the natural world, typically as part of a collaboratie project with profressional scientists. You do not necessarily have to have prior knowledge of species or survey methods thanks to new technology. You and your family will be the citizen scientists during this event using the app described below to help us document species.
What if I don’t know how to identify anything?
NO PROBLEM! We still need YOUR help to survey. You can help by hiking with a phone loaded with iNaturalist, a free app that is designed to record the location you found an organism and document what you found by taking a picture. If you don’t know the name of the plant or animal just leave the ID blank and scientists will review it and identify it based on the pictures you took. OR you can join us on a guided survey hike led by an expert/scientist and help to look for whichever organism is the topic of the hike. Also, if you just want to come and see what all the fuss is about we will have a tent set up all day Saturday with specimens that have been collected by scientists so you can see the animals within the park up close and personal. During the Biodiversity Fair we will have vendors with live animals and samples from native species in Louisiana and great touch activities for kids.
Do I need to register?
Yes and No. You do not need to register if you plan to come and survey on your own or to listen to Scientist Speed Sessions, but we do ask that you register in advance for our guided hiking programs. Guided hikes led by scientists or experts can be found at the link below. If you are a scientist, volunteer or vendor please visit the “Information for Scientists/Experts and Volunteers Section” for more information about your role.
Class Field Experience
Have your class join BREC and local scientists as we try to document the diversity of life, or “Biodiversity” of Hooper Rd. Park. During this field experience students will have the opportunity to participate and collect data in a real Bioblitz: a 24-hour event which attempts to document all the living things in one place. This field experience is free to participate in and covers important science standards using the new 2018 phenomenon-based standard model.
Bioblitz Activity Descriptions
This is a guided hike through the forest at night looking for tracks and learning about various nocturnal species, especially mammals, bats and owls.
Black lighting is when lights of various types are shined at sheets to attract invertebrates such as moths and beetles for close observation. You can help to collect specimens that land on the sheets and ID them with scientists.
Guided Survey Hikes
There will be multiple short educational hikes offered throughout the day Saturday to provide you with an opportunity to meet scientists and learn about various groups of species. During these hikes you are encouraged to document what you find with the iNaturalist app. See the list of specific hike topics below and be sure to register in advance using the link above.
- Insects, spiders and kin
- Reptile and Amphibians
Scientific Demonstration will be offered showing how scientists sample, observe and monitor different species. You will have a chance to try a few out yourself and can ask scientists questions about their sampling methods.
- Bird Banding
- Aquatics (during the aquatics hike)
This year we will have speed session during the Biodiversity Fair where scientists will have 15-30 minutes to tell you about their research, a specific organism or any other science topic. We will post this session schedule once it is solidified.
Select live animals from surveys will be temporarily held for citizen scientists to observe. We will use a series of terrariums and aquariums to keep animals humanely for a short period of time. This will be ongoing throughout the day Saturday and during the students field experience on Friday as well.
Scientists/Experts and Volunteers
If you have not yet registered please do so by following the link below and indicating the manner in which you intend to participate. This year we have an exciting addition in that we are invited schools to participate in a school field experience on Friday, April 5th. We will need a lot of scientists, experts and volunteers to assist with providing guided hikes and enrichment activities for the students. Additionally, we are moving the Biodiversity Fair to Friday since we feel it will have the most impact with the students.
In addition to the activities on Friday, we will still need a few scientists to guide the hikes which are open to the public on Saturday and scientists and experts willing to go into the park to do independent surveying both Friday and Saturday. General volunteers are need to help set up our basecamp, enter data, direct particpants, etc. Last, we are looking for group, organizations or individuals interested in having a table at our Biodiversity Fair. See role descriptions below to help guide your registration and involvement. Please contact us with any questions regarding ways you can assist the Bioblitz.
Below is a list of each component of the Bioblitz with a description to shed more light on what the event will entail.
The Bioblitz begins with a public education hike through the forest at night looking for tracks and learning about various nocturnal species, especially mammals, bats and owls. We may also set some small traps for moths, mammals and amphibians to be checked the next morning. BREC staff will guide this for the most part but we would scientists will knowledge in owls, nocturnal mammals study, etc to join and share your knowledge.
Black lighting is when lights of various types are shined at sheets to attract invertebrates for close observation. Black lighting will be open to the public after the night hike and will continue throughout the night for night survey teams. Lights will be set up in several locations to get species from different habitats. This is a very easy and effective way of getting a large cross section of insect biodiversity in the park. We are looking for entemologists and enthusiasts to help guide the public through this experience. We have some light/generator set-ups but we would love more if you have them.
Teams that focus on specific taxonomic groups are at the heart of the Bioblitz. For example, the bird team will be responsible for identifying various birds by visiting different habitats throughout the park and turning in a list of what they saw to the bioblitz coordinator. Ideally, each team has one or more experts or experienced naturalists, and a photographer to help document findings. If you would like to join a team or help coordinate your own team, please fill out our volunteer registration form. Species teams will conduct independent surveys throughout the 24 hour period of the blitz but in many cases will also offer public education hikes. All teams and volunteers are encouraged to conduct independent surveys when not leading the public guided survey hikes. Large teams can split in multiple groups to search out different areas.
Guided Survey Hikes
These will be held both Friday and Saturday and we are looking for scientists/experts to act as guides during these experiences. Hikes on Friday will be for middle school and highschools groups of 20-25 students with chaperones. Saturday hikes are open to the public and anyone can register. These hikes provide a structured opportunity for the public to meet scientists and learn about various groups of species and survey methods. During these hikes the public will be encouraged to document what they are finding with the iNaturalist app. Hike subjects are spread throughout the day so that the public has the opportunity to explore a variety of interests and learn about a broad range of species.
A tent will be set up for scientists and conservation organizations to study and display specimens. This is also where public visitors will come to learn how to use the iNaturalist app, see live animals, plants and fungi from the park and where the Biodiversity Fair will take place. This area will be a place for visitors and inventory teams to orient around and a place where field guides, displays, information, shade and drinking water can be found.
The Biodiversity Fair will take place on Friday, April 5th from 9:00 am – 1:30 pm with a 40 min window for lunch. We are looking for lunch sponsors so that may be something we are able to offer vendors. During the biodiversity Fair students will be invited to interact with vendors sharing information about local research, native habitats, flora and fauna and other STEM related topics. You will be interacting with roughly 60 -80 students every 45 minutes are so. The more hands-on your table the better and this is a great opportunity to share message of scientific observation, conservation and science career choices.
This year we are giving the public and your scientific peers another chance to learn about your research or field of study through Speed Sessions. These speed sessions will be 15-30 minutes long and take place on Saturday, April 6th in between Guided Survey Hike offerings. We will have a separate tent set up with a flip chart and chairs so anyone interested and can listen in. We would like to publish the schedule in advance so please register for the session of your choosing on the form. You pick the topic, it can even be about a certain organism you find that day, can be as formal or informal as you would like. If you want to participate but don’t know your topic yet that is ok, we will still put it on the schedule to hold your place.
Select live animals from surveys will be temporarily held for kids and adults to observe. We will use a series of terrariums and aquariums to keep animals humanely for a short period of time. This will take place both on Friday and Saturday so feel free to bring specimens you think can handle it back to the Basecamp and fair that you find during surveying. These specimens can also be documented in the photo booth which will be located at the basecamp location.
This will be a booth set up to get your animal or plant photographed and documented. A photographer with designated camera will take images of various animals, plants and fungi as part of our voucher system. Vouchers are critical in providing evidence for the presence of a species at the site location. We will need volunteers to man this booth on Saturday.
General Volunteer Job descriptions
If you are interested in helping out but don’t know if you have the necessary knowledge to lead a group or conduct independent surveys please register as a volunteer. This event is not possible without people behind the scenes helping people register, taking pictures, helping manage data, setting up and tearing down, etc. We ask that you register for a minimum commitment of an hour and half time slot but it would be appreciated if you could commit to 3-4 hours. See general job descriptions below to give you a better idea.
Set-up and Tear Down
There is a lot of moving parts for this event and we will need help getting basecamp set-up and ultimately leaving no trace afterwards. Set-up will take place Thursday afternoon and Friday morning and consists of setting up tents, tables, chairs, banners, directional signage, refreshment stations, etc. Tear-down will take place immediately after the species ceremony on Saturday and consists of taking everything down and packing up in our trailers and vans.
The event photographer is a roaming photographer helping us capture images to document the event. It is helpful if this person has their own camera and you must be willing to signa a photography release allowing us full use of your photographs with no watermark. This jobs consists primarily of taking photos of people enjoying the event opposed to specimens.
Photo Booth Photographer
This a fun job because you get to handle specimens directly and take a certain amount of speed, finesse and patients. Specimens will be cooled own in an ice chest to slow movements and then placed in our photo booth to capture them with a white background for documentation purposes.
Data drives this event and is the most important job we have. Data managers will be trained on how to use our system but it consists of running a report and copying data into our spreadsheet where information is then auto calculated. This will allow us to update our species count list which we display publicly for every one to see. Without volunteers assisting with this job, the event does not work.
Registration consists of checking people or schools in who already registered or registering member of the public who are just arriving and did not register online. This is important because you are the face of the event. The morning of Friday when schools arrive we will volunteers to check them in and direct them to a staging area. Friday night and Saturday we will have a registration table before each hike to register the public for guided survey hikes.
General Event Logistics
Are you a jack of all trades and just want to help out wherever is needed? We need you too! There is a lot of need for general running around, communicating to people, dropping people off at locations, etc. and these volunteers allow BREC staff to be in multiple places at once essentially. Jobs like manning the mini-zoo, helping biodiversity fair vendors set up and man their tables, etc. are in this category.
iNaturalist is an important part of the Bioblitz. iNaturalist is an app, website, database and online social network that allows you to document species and share observations with BREC and the broader naturalist community. You take pictures, collect location information and upload to the online database where the information can be viewed and discussed by a variety of naturalist and biologists. Even if you do not know a species name, if you document it using the app it can be identified at a later date by a team of scientists that monitor the app. BREC uses iNaturalist to help document species within the park system during the blitz and throughout the year. If you would like to contribute data to our Bioblitz, download the app, create an account and begin exploring the website at iNaturalist.org or visit the iNaturalist Youtube Channel. iNaturalist is compatible with Apple and Android phone and tablets.
All Ages are welcome; bring the whole family!
Free and Open to the public
2018 Bioblitz Results
Click to expand
415 species were documented