BioBlitz 2014

The Whistler Naturalists’ 8th annual Whistler BioBlitz was a huge success, thanks to the great weather and the quality and quantity of scientists and volunteers. This year’s BioBlitz attracted 65 of BC’s top scientists and nature educators and included a large contingent from the Royal BC Museum and UBC Biodiversity Museum.

The highlight this year was the addition of Pemberton to our list of survey sites, hence the name “SuperBioBlitz.” After a full day of surveying Whistler on Saturday, the scientists were all herded into a Whistler-Blackcomb bus or car pools, then taken north to the Riverside Wetlands in Pemberton. A fantastic morning of combing the wetlands, dry bluffs, and Bathtub Trail was followed by a delicious lunch at which we were graciously welcomed to Lil’wat Traditional Territory by Lois Joseph and Lex Joseph.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by Alpha Lake Park for the BioBlitz Nature Festival to see all the amphibians, reptiles, spiders, insects, plants, and fungi at our interpretive displays. And thanks also to those who dropped by on Saturday night to learn directly from the scientists about fossils, moths, owls, and bats.

Preliminary results show about 600 species in total counted over the 24-hour event. We expect about 50 new records for Whistler and over 100 new records for Pemberton. The results will be collated by the Whistler Biodiversity Project and available here within the next few weeks.

The Whistler Naturalists would thank all the scientists and local volunteers, plus our key sponsors: the Community Foundation of Whistler, AWARE, Whistler Blackcomb, RMOW, SLRD and Stewardship Pemberton.

We would also like to thank all the businesses and organizations who contributed to the event: Whistler Museum, Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council, Get Bear Smart, South Coast Conservation Program, Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative, Legends Hotel, Creekside Market, Nesters Market, The Adventure Group, Whistler Eco-Tours, Riverside Café, Helly Hanson, Avalanche Pizza, Nicklaus North Golf Club, Starbucks Creekside, The Fix at Nita Lake Lodge, Riverside Café and Whistler Brewing.

Thanks to Elke Wind for putting together this fantastic video!

Thanks to Joern Rohde for his photos below:

BioBlitz poster 2014

BioBlitz poster 2014

It’s a bird…It’s a plant…It’s SuperBioBlitz! The Whistler Naturalists are proud to present their 8th annual BioBlitz August 23rd and 24th.  BioBlitz is a 24-hour, round-the-clock race to count as many species as possible, and a way for the community to have fun and discover the amazing biodiversity of the area.  The event this year will include a field trip to Pemberton, putting the ‘super’ into the well-known Whistler event.

 

This year’s crew of volunteer scientists is as exciting and diverse as ever. On Saturday they will scour Whistler’s forests, peaks, and wetlands to tally insects, plants, mushrooms, and everything else they can find.  Amazingly, over the years BioBlitz scientists have documented over 1,000 species never before recorded in Whistler!

 

The community event kicks off for early birds Saturday morning with a Golf Course Blitz at 6:30 am.  The main event – the BioBlitz Nature Festival – will begin at noon at Alpha Lake Park.  People can see, touch, and learn about what the scientists have found, check out interactive displays, take part in nature crafts and more!  There will also be special kids events like ‘Swamp Monsters’ and ‘Wild Things Scavenger Hunt’. On hand there will be lots of working scientists and plenty of fun ways to participate for nature novices and experienced naturalists of all ages.

 

In the evening a whole new natural world opens up and BioBlitz scientists will present ‘Night Critters’.  Starting at 7:30 pm, experts will get up close and personal and share their knowledge on bats, bugs, moths and more!  This event is for all inquisitive minds, families and kids of all ages.  The event may move indoors depending on the weather, check whistlerbioblitz.ca for updates.

 

New this year, the crew of scientists will head up to Pemberton on Sunday to visit an entirely different ecosystem.  It was in this diverse ecosystem between the coastal wet forest and the dry interior that Leslie Anthony first documented the sharp-tailed snake when he was collecting reptiles to display at the 2011 Whistler BioBlitz.  “[The discovery] was a big deal in herpetological circles because this was a big range extension… Not only is it endangered; it is also very hard to find. It’s like finding a hay-coloured needle in a haystack the size of a baseball stadium” said Anthony at the time.

 

The Pemberton Blitz will take place on the Riverside Wetlands, land recently acquired by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) for its habitat value and one documented site for sharp-tailed snake. In partnership with Stewardship Pemberton and the SLRD, the Pemberton BioBlitz is expected to add significantly to the species list for the area, similar to what happened in Whistler.