- About Bioblitz
- Citizen Scientists and Participants
- Family Activities
- Bioblitz Activity Descriptions
- Scientists and Experts
- General Volunteers
- 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
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. You can also work on your identification skills by attending one of our workshops geared towards training you how to sample and identify certain species groups.
Do I need to register?
This year, because of COVID we are asking that you register for all hikes and workshops in advance. If you would like to just hike and survey on your own you do not need to register in advance but we do ask that you check-in at the registration tent so we know you are out there.
We have something for the whole family! You can visit our craft tent to try your hand at fun sampling related crafts, check out live specimens found by scientists in the park, or attend an interactive workshop. Don’t forget to hit the trail and this year we have two interactive hikes geared just for families with children. Have a family member looking for a more in-depth look at specimens? Register for one of our guided hikes led by local scientists and experts. Check out our Bioblitz Activity Descriptions below and our draft schedule to help plan your day!
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
We will be offering two family hikes on Saturday to engage your whole family. These hikes will provide information for all age groups! Keep the whole family engaged and curious as we explore different sampling techniques and learn how to identify different species.
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.
Every half hour during our event we will be offering interactive workshops to help you build your identification and sampling skills as a citizen scientist. These workshops will be a great way to learn more about different species groups and learn something new!
Scientists and Experts
Although our Bioblitz is a citizen science event, we still need the help of science professionals, taxonomic experts and professors to guide the public with their surveys or gather more data in the park.Below are several different ways that you can get involved; check out our draft schedule to get a sense of the event set-up.
Guided Hike/Sampling Lead
Our event relies on scientists to guide the public, our citizen scientists, in surveying and identifying species in the park. This year we are offering two rounds of hikes before and after lunch on Saturday. We are limiting registration to stay within social distancing requirements. Below are the taxonomic groups we are looking for hike leads for and our draft schedule
- Blacklighting (not a hike)
- Bird Banding (not a hike)
- Plant Hike
- Insects, Spiders and Kin Hike
- Aquatic Sampling (can be a hike or stationary)
- Reptiles and Amphibians
Invasive Species and Tree Surveys
This year on Friday we are conducting in-depth Tree and invasive species surveys throughout the park. We will have the park divided into survey plots and each plot will be marked and labeled so they are easy to find. Surveys will be conducted with ipads using Survey 123, an ArcGIS software app. Because these surveys require tree identification and survey methods such as DBH, canopy cover, etc. we would like to have 1 expert/scientist team lead with each group to provide more accurate data. We have two survey groups so you can sign up for one or both of these.
Independent iNaturalist Surveys
Although the guided hikes make conducting surveys accessible to the public, a large portion of our data comes from individuals and small teams conducting surveys at leisure in the park. These surveys are informal, and data must be captured using the free iNaturalist app. Independent Surveys need to be conducted throughout the 24 hour period of the Bioblitz to help document all species found within Manchac park. Surveys can be performed at your own convenience, either individually or with a team, as long as its within the 24 hour period of the Bioblitz.
This year to help spread out participants, we are offering workshops scattered throughout the day to help educate patrons on identification and sampling skills. We would like workshops to cover the different taxonomic groups to make sure we have a variety of offerings throughout the day. For example, a Reptile and Amphibian workshop could cover identifying frog calls or the different between venomous and non-venomous snakes. If you register to lead a workshop please email us with your taxonomic topic at firstname.lastname@example.org before registering so we can approve. When you register you are signing up for a morning or afternoon slot and you will be giving two 30 minutes sessions with a 30 minute break between them.
Volunteers are the backbone of this event. Without your help it does not happen. If you are interested in helping out but don’t know if you have the necessary knowledge to lead a group 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 job descriptions below to give you a better idea.
Independent iNaturalist Surveys
These surveys are informal and data must be captured using the free iNaturalist app. Independent Surveys need to be conducted throughout the 24 hour period of the Bioblitz to help document all species found within Manchac park. Surveys can be performed at your own convenience, either individually or with a team, as long as its within the 24 hour period of the Bioblitz. ALL DATA MUST BE COLLECTED AND SUBMITTED IN INATURALIST BY 2:30 PM April 17.
Team Surveys: Tree Habitat and Invasive Species Surveys
This year on Friday we are conducting very specific surveys using GIS technology and iPads to gather data about the dominant trees with the parks and locations of invasive species. We are looking for teams of 2-3 people to walk our pre-designated plots and conduct these surveys. Each team will have a staff or scientist lead with them. We provide all survey tools and iPads. Although advance experience in taking DBH or identifying invasive species is desirable, it is not required. There will be short training before we send you out to survey.
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.
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. Friday afternoon you will check in volunteers assisting with the team surveys. Friday night and Saturday we will have a registration table before each hike to register the public for guided survey hikes. This is also where scouts receive information about the scavenger hunt and geocaching adventure.
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.
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. It is the job of the Mini zoo attendant to document the location and time of each specimen so we can track how long it has been in the zoo and release it in the same place.
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
2021 Bioblitz Results
2020 Bioblitz Results
This year’s BREC’s Bioblitz went Virtual
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and CDC safety concerns, this year BREC decided to make the Bioblitz virtual. By spreading the survey out to between 4 parks and over two months, the citizen scientists of East Baton Rouge Parish were still able to get outside and collect data but do so safely. This resulted in our highest species count to date and we are so proud and thankful for all the hard work of those of you who quarantined out in nature! We had 56 people surveying and in the 4 parks you observed 547 total species which were identified through 1,786 observations over the two month period. Because iNaturalist is a community based forum we had the assistance of 285 identifiers from around the world helping to confirm the species of your observations. We can’t wait to see you in person next year!
2019 Bioblitz Results
2018 Bioblitz Results
Click to expand
415 species were documented