Get out and get green, Hal­i­fax

Join sci­en­tists in cat­a­logu­ing an­i­mals, plants in wild spa­ces

StarMetro Halifax - - METRO NEWS - Zane Wood­ford Metro | Hal­i­fax

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 ecol­o­gy­ac­


Fri­day’s event takes place at susies Lake in the Blue Moun­tain Birch Cove Lake wilder­ness area.

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