couple with binoculars on lookout

What’s a bioblitz?

Today’s post comes from Martha Martens, a Natural Heritage Education leader from Killbear Provincial Park.

I’ll admit: when I first heard the word “bioblitz,” I was confused. What does this strange word mean?

It might be helpful to break the word down in order to understand: “bio” means “life” and “blitz” means a  “sudden, energetic, and concerted effort, typically on a specific task.”

So a bioblitz is a brief period of time, usually 24 hours, that experts and amateurs come together to specifically record all nature sightings in a given area. All the records are compiled into a single data set of the biodiversity of that location at that point in time.

Another way to think of it is the creation of a “nature selfie.”  Bioblitz Canada is working to create Canada’s nature selfie by helping to promote and organize bioblitzes across Canada this year.

You can find a bioblitz near you at their website.

Bioblitzes in Ontario Parks

Murphys Point Provincial Park and Killbear Provincial Park will both host bioblitzes this year.

Killbear Bioblitz*

Killbear pine

Spring is an excellent time to hold a bioblitz because there’s loads of wildlife activity. We are hoping that this day will update our existing inventory of the park, and maybe even get some new species recordings on our list!

Experts in plants, reptiles, birds, fish, and insects will lead groups in bioblitzing (if I can use it as a verb). Throughout the day there will be many different sessions running, each specifically focussed on one group e.g. reptiles, plants, etc. You can come for one session or for many! You can register online for the different sessions at the Killbear Bioblitz.

Murphys Point Bioblitz*

naturalist looking at snake

This will be a 24-hour event starting at 1:00 PM on June 10 with events running throughout the day, into the evening and Sunday morning.

A second, daytime bioblitz will be held on Friday, July 21. For more information, contact Tobi Kiesewalter at 613-267-5060.

*Please note that while participation in the bioblitz is free, camping and day use fees apply.

How you can prep for a bioblitz?

Get to know some the plants and wildlife of the area. It would be overwhelming to try to learn every species. Focus on what you’re really interested in.

hiker reading guide

If it’s birds, try learning some bird songs. If it’s reptiles, familiarize yourself with the snake species in the area. There will be experts at the sessions, so you don’t need to know everything, but a little preparation can be fun and make the day even more rewarding.

What to bring for a bioblitz?

Check the weather conditions for the day and wear appropriate clothing – layers, raingear, and hiking shoes/boots. Bring drinking water, snacks and a bagged lunch. If you’ve got ’em, pack your binoculars, cameras, hand lenses, smartphones, and field guides.

Can’t make it to Killbear or Murphys Point?

Even if there’s not a Bioblitz Canada event happening near you, you can still be involved in citizen science efforts to inventory species in your own area.

pink orchid

Join inaturalist.ca and report your sightings. You don’t need to be a biologist – just send in your images and your sightings will be verified by an expert.

Get out and explore nature today!