Submitted by Brennan Caverhill, Biodiversity Intern
Starting on Friday June 15 at 3pm sharp, experts and volunteers in biology and natural history will converge at Rouge Park for a 24hr “Bioblitz” to document all living things found within Park borders. Over 150 experts and avid naturalists from the ROM, Ontario Nature, Toronto Zoo, Ministry of Natural Resources, universities, conservation authorities will join forces in this race to document life.
Antonia Guidotti, Entomology Technician at the ROM, knows this is no small feat, especially for smaller and more numerous creatures – “It’s an enormous task, trying to determine all of the insect and spider species in such a hugely diverse area in 24 hours! We are expecting a small army of entomologists (insect experts) to descend on the park and identify some of the arthropod biodiversity.”
Claire Healy, Associate Curator of Invertebrate Biology at the ROM is taking the event very seriously! She has had 5 years of experience with the BioBlitz format when she lived and work in Connecticut, US. “This will also be a chance to search for less familiar animals, such as water bears, which live in moss and lichen and are some of the smallest animals present in the Park, tiny aquatic rotifers (wheel animals), and parasites that live on or in other animals.”
And, the best part, you are invited!
The public is welcome to swing by the Blitz anytime during the 24hrs, meeting at the Rouge Valley Conservation Centre. BioBlitz experts and volunteers will be at the Centre, and have developed a complete public program, starting with invasive plant and tree ID clinics and a snake walk on Friday night, and ending with butterfly, dragonfly and fish talks, and “worm whispering”! on Saturday. See complete program details
And, just when you thought it couldn’t get better, there are night programs too! Come see how experts survey bats, or watch as bright lights are used to attract nocturnal insects. And when you’re through in the field, stop by the campfire, hosted by experts and BioBlitz participants, with stories from the field. “Much of my creative thinking and program development ideas have started around campfires,” says Dave Ireland, Managing Director of Biodiversity Programs at the ROM, “It’ll be cool to share a fire with so many leading biodiversity experts from across Ontario – I’m sure some neat new ideas will emerge!
If you are interested in participating in person, or watching the event unfold online in real-time (through interactive maps, photos, videos, and species lists), visit www.ontariobioblitz.ca