This post comes to us from Mark Read, Interpretive Naturalist at Murphys Point Provincial Park.
Last month, two local schools took part in a mini bioblitz at Murphys Point, using their outdoor skills to explore, discover, and identify the various wildlife of the park.
What’s a bioblitz?
A bioblitz is an event where local experts and volunteers record as many species of wildlife as possible over a set period of time (typically 24 hours).
Finding and identifying
Over two days, the local students were able to find and name well over 100 species, with many more species still remaining to be identified.
Grade 8 students from Perth District Collegiate Institute spent half a day near the main beach looking specifically for fish, dragonflies and damselflies, moths, and wetland creatures. Grade 4/5 students from Queen Elizabeth School in Perth had half a day in a different habitat, adding many plants to the tally.
Citizen science through iNaturalist
These “citizen science” projects not only provide an inventory of the biodiversity at a defined location but, perhaps more importantly, an opportunity for nature lovers to get outside, explore and “do science” with expert leaders.
During biolitzes at Murphys Point, we add the species we find to an online species database through iNaturalist. This allows us to have a permanent (and ever-growing) photographic record of what we find in the park.
You can bioblitz too!
There are plenty of opportunities for you and your kids to try your hand at bioblitzing this summer. Check your park’s online events page to see if any bioblitzes are taking place at parks you want to visit.
Here at Murphys Point, we will be holding a full-day event on Saturday, August 18, with a moth night the night before. There will be numerous guided hikes and experts on hand at our outdoor lab throughout the day.
View the Murphys Point iNaturalist project online or look up your own local park’s iNaturalist project to see what cool species have been recorded there.
To help celebrate Ontario Parks’ 125th anniversary, parks across the province are hosting 13 stewardship programs to help protect biodiversity in provincial parks.