|Tuesday, May 19, 2009|
More than 5,000 people, including 2,000 school children from three states, joined scientists at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for this yearâs 24-hour Bioblitz. Participants, led by over 150 scientists from all over the country, combed the park, observing and recording as many plant and animal species as possible during a 24-hour period from noon on May 15 to noon on May 16. This event is the third in a series of 10 annual Bioblitzes to be hosted by the National Park Service and the National Geographic society leading up to the Park Serviceâs centennial in 2016.
âThis was a fantastic opportunity for the public to meet the scientists and understand what makes Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore a special place,â said Costa Dillon, national lakeshore superintendent.
The initial species count stood at more than 1,150, with this number rising rapidly as scientists continued tallying the results of the inventory teams. Over the next few months, organizers expect this number to increase significantly as state-of-the-art testing of the collected samples continues. Bioblitz participants identified several species of mollusks, fungi and beetles that had not been previously documented in the park.
Following the closing ceremony, the Celebrate Biodiversity Festival was presented featuring several bands, talks, nature walks, live animal demonstrations and other activities. With the tagline âEvery Species Counts â Especially You!,â the festival focused on sustainability and getting the public to do their part to protect the environment.
During closing ceremonies Saturday at West Beach, the Bioblitz flag was passed to officials from the next Bioblitz host park, Biscayne National, where the fourth Bioblitz will take place in 2010.