Get out and get green, Halifax
Join scientists in cataloguing animals, plants in wild spaces
Haligonians are invited to get outside this weekend and help catalogue biodiversity.
The Ecology Action Centre is hosting Haliblitz, part of a series of national bio-blitzing events called Bioblitz 150, funded by the federal government and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
“It’s about citizens working with scientists and experts to go out into a particular area and to explore, capture and catalogue the various life forms that they find,” said Ecology Action Centre wilderness coordinator Raymond Plourde.
The events started earlier this week, with workshops teaching people how to use inaturalist, a smartphone app that helps the average person catalogue organisms they find in the field.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday there are events at Blue Mountain Birch Cove and Point Pleasant Park where scientists, biodiversity experts and everyday people will come together to use the app to catalogue plants, fungi, birds, fish and any other life they find at the sites.
“This goes into a growing national digital database of wildlife across the country,” Plourde said.
The free events include guided hikes at both locations where people can find out more about the different species in the area.
“The Point Pleasant Park one is really where we expect to directly connect with a lot of people because it’s already a popular area,” Plourde said.
There will be land and marine components to Saturday’s Point Pleasant Park event, “and that’s very cool because Vancouver and Halifax are the only two flagship events with a marine component,” Plourde said.
On land, Plourde thinks, people will be interested to find a high level of biodiversity at the park, given how well used it is and the fact it was “hammered” by Hurricane Juan in 2003.
“A recovering ecosystem may bring in new species and it also may be a spot where migrating birds show up,” he said.
But Plourde is most excited to show people around Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes on Friday and Sunday.
He said it’s important to keep the area’s profile high as the municipality works to turn it into a long-promised regional park.
“I think that doing bio-blitzing in that area will highlight how important it is from a nature conservation and connectivity point of view,” Plourde said.
“And it will also allow people who may not really know the area to come out and see it and experience what an awesomely beautiful place it is.”
Plourde said the area is a “lynchpin” for the municipality’s green network plan, as it connects the peninsula to the rest of the province.
Plourde said Haliblitz is “the big wrap-up of the national flagship events.”
“Everybody’s invited; that’s I think our key message. Come on out, touch nature and help us take nature’s selfie,” he said.
For more information, go to ecologyaction.ca/bioblitz.
Friday’s event takes place at susies Lake in the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lake wilderness area.