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National Geographic to BioBlitz Santa Monica Mts.

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At the 2007 BioBlitz in Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C. |Photo courtesy of National Geographic

For twenty-four hours starting tomorrow at noon, 120 scientists, 1,400 LAUSD students and community members will embark on the 2nd National Geographic BioBlitz in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area (though some say it's essentially a National Park), which stretches from the ocean to Cahuenga Pass at the 101 Freeway. Together they will comb the area, as well as Griffith Park, observing and recording as many plant and animal species as possible in 24 hours. Think of it as part scientific endeavor, part festival and part outdoor classroom.

Teams will spread out to look for and maybe collect aquatic and terrestrial insects, marine invertebrates, plants (including postfire recovery), small mammals, raptors, reptiles, amphibians, spiders, moths, owls and birds. Whether it is 2:00 p.m. or 2:00 a.m., the search will be on.

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The festive part comes in the form of the Celebrate Biodiversity Festival, which follows the 24-hour BioBlitz from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Saturday. Culver City Dub Collective, Billy B. and the Banana Slugs String Band will take center stage while talks by noted scientists, live animal demonstrations, dozens of booths and conservation-oriented displays, nature hikes, children’s crafts and other activities for all ages will round out the free afternoon event.

Both registration to participate in the BioBlitz and the festival take place at Paramount Ranch. There is still some room for on-site registration, which begins tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.