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Bay Area national parks to host BioBlitz 2014

Citizen science in the spotlight

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Fungi growing in redwood litter at Muir Woods National Monument. bberwyn photo.

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Muir Woods. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — California’s Golden Gate National Parks will host BioBlitz 2014 (March 28-29), bringing together 300 scientists and naturalists from around the country, more than 2,000 students, including 1,400 students from the San Francisco Unified School District, school groups from surrounding counties and thousands of Bay Area community members.

Bioblitz participants will comb the parks, observing and recording as many plant and animal species as possible in 24 hours. Inventory activities include counting seals, documenting insects, spotting birds, examining aquatic invertebrates and using technology to better understand the varied ecosystems of these unique national parks in an urban area.

“The Golden Gate National Parks are well-loved by the surrounding Bay Area as well as visitors around the world,” said Golden Gate National Recreation Area General Superintendent Frank Dean. “BioBlitz will allow people to explore the parks in a new way, better understand the biodiversity that exists and help document and protect these amazing natural resources,” Dean said. Continue reading

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Morning photo: Redwoods

In the land of giants …

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Muir Woods.

FRISCO — Almost within shouting distance of the Bay Area metropolis, an ancient grove of trees stands homage to John Muir, one of the fathers of the American conservation movement. Some of the trees are more than 1,000 years old, which means they were already giants when Sir Francis Drake explored the nearby Pacific coastline. The Muir Woods are a classic story of conservation activism, backed by philanthropy, as a local family bought the land when the forests were threatened by loggers, later conveying it to the National Park Service. On our weekend visit, the grove was bustling with visitors, even on Super Bowl Sunday.

The redwoods aren’t exactly easy to photograph. They are tall, to say the least, and even with a wide-angle lens, it’s nearly impossible to capture them from top to bottom. And since they grow in cool, dark places, the light is tricky — deep shadows interspersed with bright patches of sunlight. I’m not totally satisfied with images I came back with, but that’s OK; it gives me a good reason to go back. Continue reading

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