BioBlitz 2015: Where Hawaiian Culture Meets Science

Cindy Orlando

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — Part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture, the 2015 BioBlitz hosted by the National Geographic Society and the National Park Service brought together some 200 scientists, park rangers, and journalists in Hawaii’s iconic Volcanoes National Park this evening.

“We are honored to host BioBlitz 2015,” said Cindy Orlando, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s superintendent, in a prepared statement. “BioBlitz provides an unparalleled opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and cultural practitioners to discover, count and add to the park’s species list; to explore the interconnectedness of plants, animals, Hawaiian people and our daily lives; and to protect this amazing biodiversity and rich culture in our park.”

To coincide with the BioBlitz, the park moved its 35th annual Cultural Festival from July to May this year and expanded it to include biodiversity. The two-day festival will celebrate how native Hawaiians lived closely to the land as its stewards, embodying “I ka nānā no a ‘ike” (by observing, one learns) principles that continue today.

According to a BioBlitz news statement, the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival offers hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and entertainment, plus the opportunity to meet individuals and organizations at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian culture — and to learn how to join their efforts. The festival is free and open to the public.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is the ninth in a series of 10 BioBlitzes co-hosted by the National Geographic Society and the National Park Service at different national parks across the country, leading up the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016.

DSC05959“Each year, the BioBlitz evolves,” said John Francis, National Geographic’s vice president of Research, Conservation and Exploration. “Last year we moved away from paper data sheets and —> Read More