A bioblitz marries two of my favourite things: identifying birds by song AND a healthy dose of competition.
It's a 24-hour, round-the-clock race to count as many plant and animal species as possible for a particular area. And it's not only a way for folks wielding biology degrees to geek out — it's also family-friendly.
A bioblitz is perfect for you if you:
- Like free events
- Want your kids to touch a snake (and you don't have to)
- Want to have fun
- Are curious about biodiversity in your community
- Want to meet other nature nuts
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Where to blitz in Canada:
Whistler Naturalists host a bioblitz each August to scour forests, peaks, and wetlands to tally insects, plants, mushrooms and everything else they can find. Over the years, they've documented over 1,200 species never before recorded there!
This year's SuperBioBlitz also includes The Pemberton Blitz, in a beautiful cottonwood-filled valley with wetlands and rocky bluffs north of Whistler.
The Ontario BioBlitz program works with national partners — Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, Parks Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation — with 10 community-led events to choose from.
In 2015, the Greater Toronto Area Ontario BioBlitz moves to the Don Watershed with base camp at the Ontario Science Centre, to the Credit River Watershed in 2016 and back to Rouge National Urban Park in 2017.
How to host your own bioblitz
Want a bioblitz of your very own? Here's how to get started:
Meet Dave. If you're interested in being part of the national program in honour of Canada's 150th birthday in 2017, contact Dave Ireland, Managing Director, ROM Biodiversity (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks Dave!
Meet Robert. Robert Bateman's Get to Know Program, the Sitka Foundation and other partners can help you get to know your wild neighbours. Celebrate art and biodiversity in national parks, national historic sites, urban green spaces and schoolyards or host your own. The fun starts in May (so you have time to plan next year's) in celebration of International Day of Biodiversity (May 22), but events run all summer long.
Did I miss your bioblitz? Comment on this blog with a link and I'll add it to this list. Now go forth and blitz!
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green