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2013 BioBlitz:
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Milk snake in water bottle
Louisiana milk snake. NPS photo.

BioBlitz in the bayou! On May 17–18, 2013, National Park Service and National Geographic scientists, naturalists, and kids teamed up to see, count, identify, and map every plant and animal possible in Jean Lafitte. With 23,000 acres of forests, swamps, and marsh, there was plenty to discover.

This year's higlights included:

  • More than 3,000 people, including more than 1,500 schoolchildren, participated in the BioBlitz and the concurrent Biodiversity Festival.
  • The initial scientific species count as of the 4:30 p.m. closing ceremony Saturday was 458, with well over 1,500 observations made over the two days. Organizers expect the number to increase significantly over the next few months as state-of-the-art testing of the collected samples continues.
  • During the two-day, 24-hour (noon-to-noon) inventory, the Louisiana State University arthropod team processed more than 400 distinct insect species. Many are known to the park but never documented. Several new invasive insects were also among the finds.
  • A rare Louisiana milk snake was discovered, and possibly one new fish, Fundulus herteroclitus (mud minnow), will be added to the park's species roster.
  • The festival grounds were brightened by dozens of flags created by students at area schools that featured local species like alligators, snapping turtles, ducks, and dragonflies.
  • The Biodiversity Festival included a wide variety of music, nature-inspired activities, talks, art, live animal demonstrations, and hands-on science activities. The festival emphasized biodiversity and encouraged the public to do its part to protect the environment. Many visitors interacted with representatives of science, nature and environmental organizations at more than 40 booths.

More information can be found on the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve website.

Follow Along!

Once again, the biodiversity youth ambassadors were on hand to help discover and document plant and animal diversity. Check out the youth ambassador blog to see the event through their eyes.

Last Updated: May 22, 2013