Margaret Lidkea of Friends of Uplands Park. Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News

Oak Bay blitzed for Earth Day

Bioblitz highlights diversity, fragility of life

Oak Bay is about to be blitzed–bioblitzed, that is.

The first bioblitz was held in Washington D.C. in 1996 when the U.S. National Park Service applied the term to describe an ecological survey conducted at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Experts worked in conjunction with everyday citizens to identify the vast biodiversity existent within that location.

Since that time the concept has captured imaginations around the world as bioblitzes have been held in Israel, Malaysia, Ireland, Poland, Australia and…well …you get the idea. The concept has touched every corner of the world in an effort to bring experts and ordinary people together to explore, discover and catalogue the biodiversity surrounding them, no matter where they live.

In Canada, 2017 will feature 35 official bioblitz events as part of the nation’s sesquicentennial.

Not to be left out, Victoria will join the movement on Earth Day, April 22 in a bioblitz to catalogue the ecosystems and adjacent habitats of Upland’s Park, Beacon Hill Park and the University of Victoria campus.

“We’re very excited about the event. It’s so important for people to get outdoors and develop a sense of place…an understanding of where we live and all the wonders surrounding us,” said Margaret Lidkea, the Chair of Friends of Uplands Park, one of the organizations contributing to make the event possible.

Her organization will have volunteers at Upland’s Park to help guide volunteers through the trails and to help safeguard some of the more rare species already known to exist in the park.

“We have some species at Cattle Point that grow amongst the rocks and people don’t realize what they are and will step on them as they pass. These are very rare species but people just don’t know,” said Lidkea.

The blitz runs for 24 hours as experts work around the clock (from 6 pm on April 21 to 6 pm on April 22) to identify as many species as possible. For the general public, the action starts at 9 a.m. and run until 1 p.m. on April 22 when they are invited to join guided tours at all three sites. The public is encouraged to make notes and take photos of the species they encounter to add to the inventory.

In addition consulting with to the on-site experts, participants are encouraged to use their smart phones to document the plants, insects, birds, mammals, and every living thing and upload the photos to iNaturalist.org, an organization founded at UC Berkeley to develop a living history of life on earth.

Dr. Valentin Schaefer, the chair of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT), heads up another of the partners in the bioblitz project. He said the project is critical in places like Uplands Park.

“It’s an important record to have as we monitor the pressures on these endangered habitats, and a very hands-on way to bring the public’s attention to the amazing variety of species that depend on them,” said Schaefer.

For Lidkea, it’s the value of the event for young people that is most important. She said the benefits of getting children outside to develop an appreciation of the diversity and fragility of world around them are more important in today’s world than ever before.

“It’s the world they’re going to inherit and they need to have an understanding of how precious and fragile that world actually is,” she said.

More information in the bioblitz is available at bioblitzcanada.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: Study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Some 500 people attend Sidney vigil for victims of Iran airplane crash

All 176 passengers, including 57 Canadians, died when Flight PS752 crashed

Six boat wrecks wash up on Cadboro Bay beaches over the weekend

Dead Boat Society working with Oak Bay, Saanich to clear derelict boats

Saanich Police ask for help locating missing high-risk youth

Robyn Coker-Steel has not been in contact with anyone from her home since Dec. 27

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Surrey’s ‘Pink Palace’ being used for Stephen King horror shoot

New web series based on King’s The Stand novel

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Most Read