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.” Last year, Bioblitz Canada worked to create Canada’s nature selfie by helping to promote and organize bioblitzes across Canada — and we were delighted to help!
Bioblitzes in Ontario Parks
This year, many of our parks — including Murphys Point Provincial Park and Lake Superior Provincial Park — are hosting BioBlitzes in honour of our 125th anniversary.
Become a citizen scientist and discover all that lives in LSPP! Search for species in a group that interests you—birds, plants, fungi, insects—and we’ll record what we find in 24 hours.
Your efforts will contribute to LSPP’s biological inventory!
- Where: Lake Superior Provincial Park (Agawa Bay Campground)
- When: Saturday, July 14-15, 2018
This will be the 2nd annual BioBlitz at Murphys Point. Last year’s event increased the park list by an incredible 240 species!
This year we are again aiming high and have a series of public events originating from the “outdoor lab,” based at the Main Beach, that will cater to all tastes. Want to go birding? We’ve got it! Butterflies? Got that. Flowers, fish, fungi – all covered. We’ll even set out to find some of our reptiles and amphibians.
For more information, contact Tobi Kiesewalter at 613-267-5060.
- Where: Murphys Point Provincial Park
- When: Saturday August 18, 2018
*Please note that while participation in the bioblitz is free, camping and day use fees apply.
Other parks hosting BioBlitzes include:
- MacGregor Point Provincial Park BioBlitz – Saturday June 9 at 10:00 am to Sunday June 10 at 10:00 am
- Killbear Provincial Park Mini Bug-blitzes – Saturdays through July and August
- Algonquin Provincial Park BioBlitz series — TBA
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.
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 an official park BioBlitz?
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.
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!