Have you ever tried to count all the plants, birds, trees and insects found in your backyard?

Even a small piece of property can produce an amazing number of organisms, so imagine trying it in a vast ecological area. That is what "bioblitz" events are all about.

They started in the 1990s and have spread around the world, with teams of scientists targeting habitats and regions to try recording as many plant and animal species as possible.

Tucson-based Sky Island Alliance recently organized a bioblitz in the Patagonia Mountains, where scientists and volunteers turned out in full force.

The data are still being tabulated, but alliance program coordinator Jessica Lamberton is very excited about some of the results.

"We are still trying to get confirmation from some of our experts," Lambertson said. "We always want to make sure we're right before we tell the whole world, but possibly a new record for the U.S., several different records. Very exciting for all of us to see."

Participants say the information is useful for scientific research, and they say it is vital because so many natural areas are facing challenges from human encroachment.