Volunteers, scientists add up for BioBlitz, festival in Marrero

If there’s a scientist in you just waiting to jump out, head to BioBlitz this weekend.

There, volunteer teams will be working alongside real scientists to count alligators, catch insects, spot birds and examine aquatic invertebrates within the 23,000 acres of the Barataria Preserve in Marrero. The preserve is part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. The 24-hour BioBlitz is a partnership among the National Park Service, National Geographic Society and event supporters.

One hundred scientists are expected from around the country who’ll be combing the park with residents of all ages and almost 2,000 students from the Greater New Orleans area. They’ll be counting things as tiny as microscopic bacteria and as towering as a bald cypress tree. It’s all part of efforts to save Louisiana’s wetlands.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Juan Martinez will be there, and so will Zeb Hogan, host of National Geographic Channel’s Monster Fish.

There will be land- and boat-based inventory teams. The teams are best for those age 8 and older, and minors must be accompanied by an adult.

But the fun won’t end there.

The Biodiversity Festival will take place 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18, in conjunction with BioBlitz. Planned are music on the Base Camp Stage, science demonstrations, hands-on activities, food and art.

All events take place at the Preserve, but all public parking will be at Bayou Segnette State Park, 7777 Westbank Expressway, Westwego. Visitors will get free entrance to the park, free parking and free shuttles to the free festival. Shuttles for the handicapped will be available.

For more information, go to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz.