U.S. National Park Service - 100 Years, 100k Observations

The National Park Service (NPS) consisted of 35 parks and monuments when President Woodrow Wilson established it on August 25th, 1916. And in that same year, a fourteen year-old Ansel Adams, who had collected bugs and tromped through the wilderness of San Francisco as a young child, visited Yosemite National Park with his family. It was his first visit there, and he later wrote, “one wonder after another descended upon us...There was light everywhere...A new era began for me.”

One of the first inexpensive cameras in common use was the Kodak Brownie box camera, and Ansel was lucky enough to have one. He of course began to avidly photograph what he saw at Yosemite, on his way to becoming one of the most popular and influential photographers in the history of the medium. His photos (and his lobbying) were instrumental in the creation of King’s Canyon National Park and have inspired countless people to appreciate and preserve the natural world.

A century later, the National Park Service now oversees over 400 parks and monuments, which are visited by 300 million people every year. Visitors no longer carry Kodak Brownie cameras, but they are armed with smartphones; pocket-sized wonders combining cameras, gps antennae and internet connectivity.

Thus BioBlitz 2016, a citizen science project using iNaturalist to record as many species as possible in the national parks through this centennial year. And just in time for the NPS’s actual 100th birthday, iNat users have just passed the 100,000 observation mark in the NPS Servicewide BioBlitz project, which aggregates all observations throughout the system! That’s about 9% of all iNat observations recorded this year, worldwide - not bad. Over 10,000 species were recorded by over 5,000 users, ranging from the western Pacific to the coast of Maine, and all of the research grade data will be added to the National Park Service’s NPSpecies database, helping NPS staff gain a deeper knowledge of each park’s biodiversity. For example, 13 spider species, 17 lichen species, 2 terrestrial isopod species and 1 native earthwom species were all new species added to the George Washington Memorial Parkway’s list!

To help you get an idea of BioBlitz 2016’s scale (and because they’re cool), there are two interactive maps on this post - one up at the top of the post and one just below this paragraph, which include all observations in the project through 8/23/16. Make sure you play around with them! A big thanks to @loarie and @kueda for making the above and below interactive maps, respectively.

There’s still four months left in 2016, so get out there and make some observations in a nearby national park if you can. You’ll be helping in the greater understanding and preservation of over 84 million acres of land - an incredible heritage. Who knows, maybe you could be our next Ansel Adams!

by Tony Iwane


Psst! Since only verified observations will be added to NPSpecies, your identification assistance is critical for BioBlitz 2016 observations!  Use our Identify tool to identify any organisms in the project that you can - every little bit helps!

Posted by tiwane tiwane, August 25, 2016 04:01 PM

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Love this post and the maps! :)

Posted by sambiology about 2 years ago (Flag)

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