BioBlitz to document local species
By Robert Mackenzie
Published June 13, 2017
More than 40 scientists will be pulling an all-nighter at the Dahl Forest June 24 as part of Haliburton’s first ever BioBlitz.
A BioBlitz is a gathering of scientists to document as many living species in a specific area as possible over a 24 hour period. According to Mary-Lou Gerstl, board chair of the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, although BioBlitzes have been growing in popularity, this is the first event of its kind in the county.
The BioBlitz was organized by the land trust in order to educate about species at risk and how vulnerable the animal population is, while at the same time showcasing the Dahl Forest – a property donated to the land trust that Gerstl says many people are still unaware of. “It’s such a great educational tool for the community, young and old,” she said. “It’s a great showcase for the land trust and what we do, because a lot of people still don’t know.”
Gerstl said Ed Poropat, a biologist and member of the land trust, has been recruiting the scientists, and that between 40 and 50 will be participating in the event. The different species that scientists document could be any living thing, from dragonflies to birds to trees, depending on the specialties and preferences of each scientist.
The BioBlitz will be taking place from 11 a.m. on June 24 to 11 a.m. June 25. Along with the species documentation, there will be eight guided walks by scientists and a lively presentation by Scales Nature Park. Gerstl hopes the event will engage members of the community, while at the same time gathering information to gauge the future effects climate change will have on the species.
This is one of three land trust events this summer celebrating Canada 150. The land trust was approved more than $29,000 for these projects through the government’s Canada 150 Fund.
Those planning on attending one of the guided walks are asked to go on the land trust website to register, as the scientists leading them will only be able to handle around 20 people.