Scientists, nature-lovers to count park species during BioBlitz at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Register now to take part in BioBlitz 2013, a 24-hour species count and biodiversity festival, Friday and Saturday at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

Sponsored by the National Park Service and the National Geographic Society, BioBlitz 2013 is part scientific endeavor, part festival and part outdoor classroom.

The event brings together more than 100 scientists and naturalists from different parts of the country with thousands of locals and nearly 2,000 students from the New Orleans area.

Together, they will comb the park to count as many plant and animal species as they can in a 24-hour period.

The preserve protects more than 23,000 acres of wetlands. The inventory will include counting alligators, catching insects, spotting birds, exploring and examining aquatic invertebrates and using technology to better understand the diverse ecosystems of the Barataria Preserve.

A major part of BioBlitz is the opportunity for the public to work alongside leading experts to count, map and learn about the park’s diverse organisms, ranging from microscopic bacteria to towering bald cypress trees.

Children 8 and older accompanied by an adult may participate in inventories, and younger children may enjoy hands-on activities at the Biodiversity Festival at the Barataria Preserve.

The Biodiversity Festival is free and will feature music, food, art, science demonstrations, and hands-on activities provided by prominent science and environment organizations.

To be part of an inventory team, register online at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz. Registration is now open and team spots are filled on a first-come basis.

All BioBlitz and festival parking will be at Bayou Segnette State Park, 7777 Westbank Expressway, Westwego. Admission, parking and shuttle service are free. Handicapped-accessible shuttles will be available. For information, go to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz.