By Brad Donaldson
For the first time since 2009, Halifax will be home to a Bioblitz.
Between September 11th and 17th, the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) will be hosting the community-based event that encourages the public to get outside and collectively identify the biodiversity living within the Halifax region.
This year’s blitz will take place at the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Wilderness Area as well as Point Pleasant Park—two very different areas—which will allow participants to see the true diversity in our province’s biological systems.
Jeana Mcleod, EAC Wilderness Outreach Officer, says the goal is to “encourage people to think about biodiversity and integrate [that] into their [daily] decisions.”
Participants, no matter their age or experience, contribute to the blitz by capturing digital images of plants, insects, etc. and uploading their findings to an online database called iNaturalist.
“[iNaturalist] is basically a platform where anyone can go out into the woods and take a photo of a bird, or an insect, or a plant…and upload it,” says MacLeod. “If it gets verified by someone it actually becomes research grade, so then the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre can use it.”
This form of citizen-science helps cultivate the identification of what exists in an area’s natural environment, and is a unique experience for people to learn as they contribute to larger community of environmental studies.
MacLeod sees it as “improve[ing] our collective understanding of the diversity of what’s around us and what different species habitat [these areas]… we hope that through these BioBlitz’s people will be more empowered to use iNaturalist after the fact and we can have a very citizen-science-led monitoring system across the province.”
- To learn more, click here to watch a video filmed by Brayden Culligan at a recent BioBlitz via the EAC.