“I know that there was a commitment to do ten BioBlitzes, but what if we say that we want to do ten more,” National Geographic President and CEO Gary Knell said at the official launch of the Golden Gate Parks BioBlitz in San Francisco today.
Knell was riffing off remarks made minutes earlier by Bert Frost, National Park Service Associate Director, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, who observed that National Geographic and the Park Service had committed to doing ten BioBlitzes in the run-up to the centennial of the national parks in 2016. The Golden Gate BioBlitz was the eighth in the series, Frost said, and with each of them “we find more fascinating and interesting things, new species to the park, new species to the region, and also new species to science”.
Knell’s suggestion that perhaps there should be ten more BioBlitzes was greeted with whoops and cheers. “My staff is looking at me and saying, ‘How the hell are we going to do that boss? So a few of you in the audience, we are going to talk about that later tonight,” he said.
“National Geographic takes such great pride in its part that it does in exploration and science. We are working around the world … in all kinds of places trying to save important monuments and important parts of the world so that we are all in this project together of respecting this planet that we all live on. We are here to inspire people to take better care of the planet. I can’t think of a better idea than BioBlitz, as we get down to some of the smaller parts of our planet,” Knell said.
Everyone a Park Ranger
“You guys are going to be park rangers for the next 24 hours,” Bert Frost told an audience of mostly students and teachers during his remarks. “But you know reality is that you can be park rangers for the rest of your life … you are the future of the National Park Service…We need you young kids to be the next biologists, the next scientists, to join the National Park Service to continue the legacy that we are carrying on today.”
Frost challenged the 2,700 students attending the BioBlitz to find new species in the Golden Gate Parks .”There are things here that we don’t know about. Your job is to go out and find them,” he said. Two hours after he made these remarks, the BioBlitz had already recorded observations of nearly 1,000 species, about 200 of which were confirmed by scientists.
David Braun is director of outreach with the digital and social media team illuminating the National Geographic Society’s explorer, science, and education programs.
He edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society’s mission and major initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world. More than 50,000 readers have participated in 10,000 conversations.
Braun also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship.