The National Park Service (NPS) and National Geographic Society partnered to host the first National BioBlitz to celebrate the NPS Centennial. Ronnell and I were invited to a dinner at the National Geographic Society campus the day before the event. There we dined with many scientists from the Washington Metro Area, including employees from the U.S. Geological Survey, a nature center in Maryland, and other local agencies. In attendance was also distinguished scientist E. O. Wilson, sometimes referred to as the “father of sociobiology and biodiversity,” who delivered a speech about the importance of conducting BioBlitzes. It was a lovely dinner, and we were even given macro lenses for our cell phones.
For the BioBlitz on Friday, I was assigned to be a pro-observer for a macroinvertebrate study at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in northeastern DC. There I worked alongside folks from NPS and helped others use iNaturalist, an app to catalog observations at all times, to capture photos of the various macroinvertebrates they caught from the wetlands. It was fun to work with many children to catch these small animals in petri dishes, to be able to view and take pictures of them. In the end we may not have cataloged many specimens, but we did have a great opportunity to introduce new organisms and perform hands-on science with the public.