Fall FBI Mission: Insects and MushroomsLevels 1-4

FBI for Fast Biodiversity Inventory: a mission to inventory the biodiversity in the heart of Provence Further Details

Fall FBI Mission: Insects and MushroomsLevels 1-4

FBI for Fast Biodiversity Inventory: a mission to inventory the biodiversity in the heart of Provence Further Details

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An FBI mission is a real-life biodiversity survey: cataloging the maximum number of living species in a specified location, specifically mushrooms and insects during this first ‘raid’. What better way to become a junior biodiversity expert!

The stay

We need you!

The Biodiversita programme is looking for special agents to join their FBI (Fast Biodiversity Inventory) team:

If you accept, your mission will be to: thoroughly explore and build up as much knowledge as possible on the biodiversity of the area under study. Specific attention to be paid to mushrooms and insects.

Where: you will operate in a nature reserve right in the heart of Provence.

When: It will take place this fall so hurry up and join the mission. Call us.

© OSI : OSI, Michael Mags

Technical equipment for your mission: you will use all expert equipment available with LINABIO (Biodiversita Laboratory for Naturalistic Identification): handheld magnifying glasses, binocular magnifiers, nets and insect traps, identification keys...

Human resources: in addition to your FBI colleagues, Biodiversita’s special advisors on ‘insects’ and ‘mushrooms’ shall advise and help you in this mission.

Your objectives: catalog the most number of species in the area under study. The best investigators shall win FBI merit awards.

Your supplementary mission: over and above the data collected, your team must develop identification tools to simplify the task of your future investigator colleagues.

Your mission report: all aspects of your work must be exhibited on Saturday, October 26, 2014 at Musiflore, Crupies, Drôme, France. A presentation (photos, specimens...) on the most interesting discoveries is expected.

Daily routine on a FBI mission

In the FBI team, all are (we are?) field agents! So, most of the time will be spent in nature, observing, identifying, counting and locating mushrooms, insects and all living creatures that attract our attention! So, with a backpack, a field notebook, a magnifying glass, a pair of binoculars, a GPS and all the equipment from LINABIO, we are all set for an outdoor survey!

But what exactly does an exploration involve? It is a time of observation when we sharpen our five senses and our curiosity to unearth and discover strange mushrooms, well hidden locusts and other insects that try to slip away from our investigation! And all this is ‘fun’ what with naturalist rallies and fun activities while being serious as well, (je mettrai “:”) we are, after all, special agents of the FBI!

© OSI : Dan Molter / CédricMroczko / Wikipedia

But despite all that, we very often encounter ‘suspects’ who, though we question from all angles, refuse to tell us (mal dit) their name straightaway. So there! We collect a sample and hotfoot with it to the lab! ! There, after (après) tough questioning under a binocular magnifier and with the help of the huge library at LINABIO, we make them reveal their name (scientific, of course !)

But even special agents of the FBI need a break: hence all these would be interspersed with a variety of non-scientific activities such as elaborate games, parties, discovery workshops and other sporting activities!

© OSI : OSI, escapado.fr

Biodiversity research during the mission

The participants staying here shall be involved in various research projects.

In the short term and locally, this involves getting to know a maximum number of fauna and flora within a challenging zone to bring to light possible steps to manage, protect and preserve this biodiversity. The findings and the data collected shall then be communicated to the owner or the manager of the area under study.

At a broader level, the data would be sent across to organisations responsible for monitoring the biodiversity at regional (associations, communities), national (National Inventory of the Natural Heritage, INPN/Inventaire National du Patrimoine Naturel under the National Museum of Natural History in Paris/Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris) and international (GBIF – Global Biodiversity Information Facility – Système Mondial d’Information sur la Biodiversité) levels. At a larger scale this data could help study the evolution of biodiversity in relation to say, climate change.


Finally, from a methodological point of view, this involves developing effective methods of inventorying and monitoring suitable for a motivated group of people who are beginners. Indeed, our limited knowledge on biodiversity in relation to the world we live in is in large part due to the paucity of specialists studying it: putting in place citizen initiatives to study biodiversity is therefore crucial!

The Location

The Musiflore holiday spot is in Provencal Drôme, between the small town of Dieulefit and the village of Bordeaux. This area of Drôme is well known since it forms of part of the communities of the BioValley that aims to develop and manage a baseline European rural zone on sustainable development (http://www.biovallee.fr). It is thus an unspoilt, vibrant area with minimal risk of pesticide contamination where streams and rivers are clean. Speaking of water bodies, Drôme is also known for unplanned and festive bathing! Near the center is a very beautiful spot where one can bathe in one of Drôme’s tributaries: the Roubion.

The agricultural, cultural and artistic background of this region of France makes it a special place. It is possible to go on foot to visit farms and agricultural holdings, especially the famous Picodon goat farms that produces well known artisanal cheeses. The small town of Dieulefit with its ancient town center is about twenty minutes away from Musiflore where a big market is held every week where artists and artisans rub shoulders with local producers. Bordeaux on the other side is a small city with an old castle in ruins and a medieval center that holds a big medieval festival once every summer culminating in a splendid display of fireworks. Participants look forward to these activities that happen over the summer that add to our scientific activities and allow us to have a holistic approach with respect to the area.

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

In the matter of flora and fauna too, this region is second to none. Tawny vultures fly over the center. Many species of orchids bloom everywhere and very often one spots deer or protected insects.

_Hiking trails in the region offer spectacular views of the countryside, for example, just behind the center at a height of 500 m (about 3 hours of leisurely walk) the views are stunning!

_A bit further, a few minutes away by bike, right behind the little village of Saou is a forest of the same name, nested in a reverse syncline (a very unusual geological formation). Overall, the setting is exceptionally nice.

_Our activities at Drôme are thus part of a holistic ecological approach where the sciences and manual activities, culture and nature come together as part of daily life to improve the participants…and our team!

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).

The Team

Sylvain Allombert is the Scientific and Technical Officer of the BIODIVERSITA Research Programme and the FBI trips. While completing his doctoral thesis in ecology in France and Canada, he discovered his vocation: popularizing scientific knowledge on Biodiversity. It is within an association that he could improve his capabilities in this area, working with all manner of people, from young people to professionals. As a naturalist, he is a generalist having worked as an ornithologist, entomologist or ecologist while also being involved in other domains such as botany, mammals, reptiles or amphibians.

During this stay, Sylvain shall not only organize scientific activities, but shall also act as special advisor on ’insects’ for our aspiring investigators! His broad and deep knowledge about the natural world shall surely satisfy the curiosity of the participants!

The Stay

De verts et vastes espaces pour de folles activités.

The Musiflore holiday spot is right in the middle of nature with about 48 hectares of land shared between forests and grasslands. The landowners nearby welcome us as well if we are respectful of their work (not go into the fields just before mowing, for example) and let them know in advance. We find ourselves in a huge area of exploration and adventure where the length of our stride is the only limitation.

As far as the center itself is concerned, it is recently renovated and offers well lit rooms with three or six beds as well as many activity halls, small or big. Meals are often had outside, in the shade, which is very pleasant. The Holiday Center also boasts of an auditorium equipped with all that is needed to hold events of all sorts. A bit further, other buildings include an old farm, also renovated, where the bread oven is still working. Very often we make bread and even…pizzas!

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

This is consistent with our objectives related to our ecological impact. At this center, we have focused our approach around food. The location is ideal since local production is significant and many farmers are respectful of the environment (the center is in the midst of a group of municipalities called biovalley, committed to agricultural practices that are respectful of the environment). Also, the participants consume the bread they bake (two or three times a week as of now) and they make all their snacks. The menu is light in meat and is carefully planned to provide all that is needed from a nutritional point of view, based on fresh produce. This has been possible thanks to a close collaboration with the entire team at the Musiflore center.

As a matter of fact, the Musiflore center is also part of an ecological approach (wood-fired boiler, a number of placards to raise awareness, mindful of the energy balance, healthy eating, etc….).

_We also try to reduce travel, printing, purchase of consumables from recycled material etc….

Within and around the center, we have everything needed for our activities: open terrain for big games or to fly drones, vast forests to explore and to learn from, grasslands with orchids, huge impressive trees, to study rivers or to bathe in them…

_The Musiflore center is thus perfect to have a blast, outdoors or indoors!

Voici donc la salle de l’auditorium pour les spectacles et les boums, une chambre et une salle d’activité.

Dates and Prices

Starting from €700 (750 CHF) depending on dates and length of stay
Sun 11 November

- Sun 18 November

Sun 18 November

- Sun 25 November

Sun 25 October

- Sun 1st November

Sun 1st November

- Sun 8 November

Sun 8 November

- Sun 15 November

Weeklong stays

(see summer stays)


(see summer stays)

Registration open

(see tariff and registration)

Registration open

(see tariff and registration)


(see summer stays)

Two weeklong stays

(see summer stays)

Registration open

(see tariff and registration)


(see summer stays)

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

1) Should participants know a bit about insects or mushrooms before starting on this FBI mission?

No, things are organized such that a beginner can participate, make progress and contribute!

2) Why study insects and mushrooms?

Because the season is right for mushrooms and it is also a very good season to find certain insect groups (locusts and crickets especially). Also, insects and mushrooms fall into groups that are still little known in France ...

3) So then one would be studying only insects and mushrooms?

Not at all, as with all Biodiversita trips, we are interested in all manner of biodiversity! If a vulture flies overhead, no way would we keep our eyes glued to the ground! It is just that during this operation, our main subject of study shall be these two groups.

4) Would we discover species as yet unknown to science Science La science est désormais l’affaire de tous. Découvrez la science d’une manière ludique et active. Nous vous proposons d’en découvrir plus sur nos expéditions à la voile, découverte du plancton. during the trip?

Over the course of a short trip in France, it is hardly a possibility… but nothing is impossible! It is, however, quite possible to discover species not yet known in the region, or in France, or to rediscover species not spotted since many years! In short, we shall, no doubt, advance our knowledge on biodiversity!

5) I like insects but mushrooms not so much, will I get bored?

No, children are free to get involved in the group they like best.

Access and Discovery

Provence, Lavender and the Oak Forest:

Click on this link for details on all the trips offered by the Centre de Séjours Scientifiques OSI Provence.

Location of the Centre de Vacances

At the heart of 49 hectares of unspoilt prairie and forest:
The young people shall be housed in well appointed rooms that can hold 2 to 6 people in the Musiflore Center located in Crupies in the heart of Provence Prealps since 1966.
This completely renovated building that organizes activities involving music, creative expression and discovery of nature is well suited to host scientific and cultural activities of the NGO.

Accompanied transfers from all cities are organized through Lyon and Valence. If you are coming on your own, depending on your starting point or your final destination, many other routes are possible in case you are dropping your children off while on a trip.
The Paris – Crupies segment takes three and a half hours door to door by Mediterranean TGV.

How to reach Musiflore Center :

If arriving from Lyon or Grenoble via AutoRoute A7: 15 Valence South exit. Take D111 and head in the direction of Die /Gap. Skip Crest and head towards Nyons / Bourdeaux (D538) till Bourdeaux. Continue along D70 towards Nyons till Crupies, travel beyond Crupies towards Vesc / Nyons. The Musiflore Center is 2 km away from Crupies on the left.

If arriving from Avignon - Marseille via autoroute A7: 18 Montélimar South exit. Follow D540 towards Dieulefit. At Dieulefit, head towards Nyons and then towards La Paillette. Continue in the direction of Vesc and Crupies. The Musiflore Center is 3 km from Vesc on the right, before you reach the village of Crupies.

To reach the location directly, you can:

The address of the Centre:
Centre Musiflore
Combe de Garaux
26460 Crupies
Number to call at local rates from France: 09 72 21 57 59
Number to call at standard rates from Canada and USA: 011 33 9 72 21 57 59
Number to call at standard rates from all other countries: 00 33 9 72 21 57 59

This Center gives us the opportunity to experience life in the lap of nature and enjoy the many activities held in the halls and facilities on the property. A huge hall where parties and performances of children can be held on Saturday afternoons is also available for use.

Be warned! the place has all manner of activities on offer, streams to discover, prairies to explore, forests to roam through…

And all this, in the sun!

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

The village of Crupies is a small community that does not have the typical village center but it is well known because of Musiflore and the St Jean Chapel (11th century). From the top of the hill, it dominates and surveys the Roubion river that glistens in the sun.

Crupies is a great village to live where the good old tradition of hospitality still continues.

The parents too can decide to stay in a hotel in the region, whether it is the day before their arrival in the location or to participate in the Retransmission of their children on Saturday afternoon (on the eve of departure on Sunday). The parents can also enjoy staying in the area for the entire duration of the stay.
Apart from the many hotels and inns in the region, the Centre de Vacances Musiflore where stay is organized is also available for Saturday night through Sunday.


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