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FBI Mission—Reptiles and OrchidsLevels 1-3

Become reptile experts by joining this FBI naturalist inventorying mission! Lizards, turtles, and (harmless) snakes, fasten your seatbelts! Further Details Levels 1-3

FBI Mission—Reptiles and OrchidsLevels 1-3

Become reptile experts by joining this FBI naturalist inventorying mission! Lizards, turtles, and (harmless) snakes, fasten your seatbelts! Further Details Levels 1-3

Reptiles and Flowers – 7 or 15 days – Provence
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An FBI (Fast Biodiversity Inventory) mission is a life-sized investigation of biodiversity: identifying as many living species as we can within a precise area, and during this mission in particular: reptiles, orchids and insects. It’ll make you a real junior expert in biodiversity!

The stay

These three pictures aren’t from the Amazon rainforest—they’re actually from Provence in the springtime!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it!

The NGO, Objectif Sciences International’s BIODIVERSITA research program Research Program Collaborate with scientific organizations. Actively take part in participative science research programs. All this is possible with our plankton discovery sailing expedition. is looking for special agents to join its FBI (Fast Biodiversity Inventory) team:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: to search thoroughly, and learn as much as you can about the biodiversity in our zone of study. We’ll pay close attention to reptiles, as well as orchids and insects.

Where: You’ll be operating within a corner of nature in Provence—truly a little piece of paradise.

When: It’s taking place this upcoming spring. Hurry up and join the mission!

Technical resources for your mission: You’ll have all of the BIONIL’s (Biodiversita Naturalist Identification Laboratory) expert tools: magnifying glasses, binocular loupes, reptile traps, insect nets and traps, identification keys, etc.

Human resources: In addition to your FBI colleagues, the special BIODIVERSITA “reptile,” “flower,” and “insect” advisors will be there to guide you and help you during this mission.

Your objective: Make an inventory of as many species as possible in the zone of study. The best investigators will receive the FBI’s medal of merit.

Your secondary mission: Other than collecting data, your team will have to develop identification tools to make the work of your future investigator colleagues easier.

Your mission report: Together, your team will present all the elements of your work at the end of your trip. We’re expecting a presentation (photos, specimens, etc.) of your most interesting discoveries!

© OSI : OSI/Solène Touzeau, Angelika Wolter/
  • See our other OSI Provence Center for Scientific Living trips:
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The research project

Trip participants will focus on several biodiversity-related objectives during the mission.

In the short term and locally, they will have to collect as much information as possible about wildlife and plants in a particular area. They will then determine what management and protection measures need to be implemented to preserve biodiversity. The results and collected data will be sent to the owner or manager of the site that is under study.

On a larger scale, the data will be shared with organizations that monitor biodiversity at various levels: regional (associations, communities), national (Inventaire National du Patrimoine Naturel (INPN), managed by the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris), and international (GBIF–Global Biodiversity Information Facility). This information can be used to study changes in biodiversity in relation to, for example, climate change.

From a methodological viewpoint, it’s a way to create biodiversity observation and monitoring methods that are efficient and tailored for groups of motivated beginners. We know little about the biodiversity around us because there are few specialists in this area. That’s why developing citizen-led biodiversity studies is so important!

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Concepts Learned during the Camp

Ecosystems - Amphibians - Population biology - Insects - Biotope - Transects - Ornithology - Botany - Entomology - Herpetology - Natural areas - Biodiversity inventory - Counting - Identification - Reference collection - Reptiles

Equipment Used

Topographic map - Butterfly net - Herbarium - Binoculars - Loupe - Binocular loupe - GPS - Gloves - Identification keys - Field book - Identification and popular science guides - Reptile bucket - Bug boxes - Entomological pins - Reptile trap

The location

Un des panoramas que nous offre la région. Ici à 3h de marche du centre.

The Musiflore Holiday Center is in Drôme provençale, between the small town of Dieulefit and the village of Bourdeaux. This part of Drôme is famous because it’s a part of the biovalley districts, whose objective is to develop and manage a piece of rural European land that can serve as a model for sustainable development ( It’s a dynamic, preserved area where the risks of pesticide contamination are lower, and the waterways are, perhaps, cleaner. And speaking of waterways, the Drôme River is also known for its impromptu, festive swimming sessions! Near the center, we can reach a beautiful spot where we can swim in the Roubion, one of the Drôme’s tributaries.

The agricultural, cultural, and artistic atmosphere of this part of France make it a choice destination. We can walk to the nearby family-friendly farms, especially those that produce the famous goats-milk Picodon cheese. The small town of Dieulefit is about twenty minutes from the center of Musiflore. Every week, it holds a large market in its old town center, where artists and artisans meet local producers. If you head in the other direction, you’ll find Bourdeaux, a small town that features an old ruined castle and a medieval center that holds a big middle-ages-themed party once every summer, which is topped off with a fireworks display. The region is also home to the Saint Jean de Crupies chapel, a remarkable archaeological site classified as a historic monument—one that still holds many secrets.
All these activities, which take place depending on what period of the summer it is and participants’ interest, bring a cultural note to our scientific activities, and give us an expanded approach to the area.

Vue aérienne de la forêt de Saou, et de cette formation géologique particulière : le synclinal perché.

Don’t forget the wildlife and plants in this region! Griffon vultures fly over the center. You can also find many species of orchids, and it isn’t rare to come across a deer or protected insects.
You can see the region’s amazing landscapes during hikes. For example, just behind the center, five hundred meters higher in altitude (about a three-hour hike if you take your time), the view is spectacular!
A bit farther, several cable-lengths by bicycle this time, just behind the small village of Saou is the forest of the same name, nested within an inverted syncline (a very singular geological formation). In short, the sights are amazing.
Our activities in Drôme are thus part of an ecological approach, that is, a whole in which the sciences and hands-on activities, culture and nature are linked to daily life to make participants and our team grow!

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Day to day proceedings

The FBI team are field agents! Most of our time will be spent in nature observing, identifying, counting and finding snakes, lizards and any living thing that grabs our attention! With our backpacks, field books, magnifying glasses, binoculars, GPSes, and all the BIONIL materials, we’ll be off to explore in the great outdoors!

What do we mean by exploration? We’ll observe, and then sharpen our five senses and our curiosity to uncover and discover impressive (but completely harmless) snakes, colorful lizards, magnificent orchids, twirling butterflies, and other creatures that try to escape our investigation! And everything will be fun thanks to the playful naturalist rallies. But it will also be serious; we are FBI special agents, after all!

But our reptile friends are sometimes quite discreet, and to find them we’ll have to set reptile “traps.” Fear not; the reptiles will be set free without a scratch!

And since even FBI agents need to relax, we’ll have plenty of extra-scientific activities like outdoor games, soirées, discovery workshops, and athletic activities!

Notre spot de baignade, le Picodon est l’occasion de visiter des fermes productrices de ce fromage local à succès, la faune et la flore sont très riches, ici une orchidée (Ophrys insectifera).
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The team

Sylvain Allombert is the scientific and technical director of the BIODIVERSITA research program and the FBI camps. While writing his dissertation in ecology in France and Canada, he discovered his calling: popularizing scientific knowledge about biodiversity. He developed his popularization skills in an association, where he worked with all kinds of people, from young children to professionals. He’s a general naturalist, and has worked as an ornithologist, entomologist and ecologist. He’s also dabbled in other subjects, like plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

During this camp, Sylvain will organize scientific activities. He’ll also be the “insects” special advisor for our budding investigators! His extensive knowledge of the natural world will surely satisfy participants’ curiosity!

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De verts et vastes espaces pour de folles activités.

The Musiflore Holiday Center is in the heart of nature, with about forty-eight hectares of land divided between forests and plains. Nearby farmers are happy to have us, as long as we respect their work (for example, by not going in fields right before the harvest) and warn them ahead of time. We’ll be in an immense land of discovery and adventures, where our only limit will be the length of our strides.

The center itself was recently renovated and features luminous, comfortable rooms with three to six beds, as well as many activity rooms, both big and small. We can often have our meals outside in the shade, which is quite pleasant. The holiday center also includes an auditorium equipped with all the things we need to put on a variety of shows. Farther away, in what was once an old farm (now renovated), a bread oven is still operational. We often make bread and even pizzas!

Après avoir confectionné nos pizzas, on les enfourne dans le four à bois!

To fulfill our objectives about our ecological impact on the center, we focused our approach on nutrition. The location is ideal, since it contains many local producers and environmentally friendly farmers (the center is within a group of district associations, called a biovalley, which is dedicated to sustainable agriculture). Participants eat the bread they bake (two to three times a week at the moment) and they make their own snacks from scratch. Menus are light on meat, and are designed to use fresh products while providing everything you need to fuel up. This is thanks to a close collaboration with the entire Musiflore Center team.

The Musiflore Center is also dedicated to sustainability (wood-burning furnace, many awareness-raising posters, consciousness of energy consumption, healthy eating, etc.).
We also try to reduce the distance we travel and our printing budget, buy more goods made with recycled materials, etc.
In and around the center, we have everything we need for our activities: open spaces for outdoor games or flying drones, vast forests to explore and study, orchid-filled prairies, impressive large trees, rivers to study or swim in, etc.
That’s why the Musiflore Center is the perfect place to have a blast outside or inside!

At this center, we can spend our days immersed in nature; we can also spend time in several of the activity rooms. We’ll also use a large hall, where we’ll organize parties and every Saturday afternoon, see the children’s presentations.

And all this in the sunshine!

In the heart of forty-nine hectares of protected prairies and forests:
Young people will stay in lovely rooms for two to six people in the Musiflore Center in Crupies, which has been in the heart of the Provence Prealps since 1966.
Entirely renovated, this building that introduces people to musical activities, artistic expression, and discovering nature is especially suited to our NGO’s scientific and cultural activities.

Parents can book a hotel in the region, whether for the day before their arrival, or to come and see their children’s presentations on Saturday afternoon (the day before the camp ends, on Sunday). Parents can also stay in the region during the whole trip.
Other than the many hotels and inns around the region, the Musiflore Holiday Center, where the trips take place, is available to you for the night of Saturday until Sunday.

We will be meeting up in Lyon and Valence with participants from all over to make the trip to the center together. If you’ll be traveling to the center yourself, other routes can be used depending on your departure point or where your final destination is located (if you’re dropping off your children while taking a longer trip).

To join us on this trip, you can:

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Pictures / Videos

© OSI : Wikipedia/Benny Trapp, Fox Amphoux, OSI

© OSI : OSI/Sandra Reinhard



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