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BioBlitz Gave Volunteers a Rare Look at Griffith Park

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Last weekend, National Geographic, the National Parks Service, California State Parks Department, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy sponsored a BioBlitz biodiversity census to count the many different plant and animal species living in the Santa Monica Mountains.

During the 24 hour non-stop species inventory, 200 scientist-lead teams of volunteers from the greater Los Angeles community documented 1,364 species of flora and fauna. Among the different species inventory teams was a Griffith Park bat-seeking expedition which gave volunteers a rare chance to experience Griffith Park at night. Expert bat biologist Stephanie Remington taught volunteer bat hunters how to use AnaBat recording devices before sending teams of volunteers into the Griffith Park darkness.

On any given day, Griffith Park is lively and brimming with joggers, cyclists, hikers, children, birthday parties, and ponies. But at night, the park is eerily silent and forbidding, lit only by a few sparse street lamps, some distant light pollution from the human urbanity that surrounds the park, and the occasional pair of glowing coyote eyes. In the darkness, the still-standing ruins of the Old Zoo look formidable, intensifying the stoic stillness. The after-hours of Griffith Park would be utterly lonesome except for the flocks of curious moths that graze the skin and the fairy-like darting of bats in the trees in search of food.