The Community Stewardship Council in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds has developed a Bioblitz Protocol: a guidebook and resource package to help community groups plan and implement their BioBlitz event.

BioBlitz-Jeff identifies sugar mapleThis package includes a planning guide, tips and examples from past BioBlitz events, resources such as species checklists and participant registration forms, suggestions for potential activities etc. A specially designed Access database has also been developed in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources specifically for recording species during BioBlitz events. It is hoped that this database will be used during future BioBlitzes in order to simplify the data entry process and allow easy reporting of rare of tracked species.

For the past several years, the council has assisted several groups with their events to field test the resources and gather feedback. If you are interested in getting involved with future project or hosting your own BioBlitz, please contact:

Susan Sentesy, Project Coordinator
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(613) 267-4200 ext. 3403

What is a BioBlitz?

The BioBlitz concept has been rapidly gaining popularity over the past decade. Events have been held all across Canada and North America and as far away as Portugal, Taiwan, and New Zealand. While these events have taken many forms, the main objective is always to produce a volunteer-based biological inventory. Typically, these events run for 12-24 hours with a group of volunteer experts, naturalists, and enthusiasts counting the total number of plant and animal species in a specified area. Often, community involvement is also a major focus of the BioBlitz as it offers a fun and interactive way for communities to come together to learn about biodiversity, stewardship, and natural heritage values right in their own neighbourhoods. Expert-guided walks, small mammal trapping, seine netting, insect catching, and interactive displays are all examples of community learning activities that might be offered at a BioBlitz event.

Why have a BioBlitz?

2010 is the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity. Groups and organizations around the world will be learning about and celebrating biodiversity with events such as BioBlitzes. In addition to providing a fun and educational community event, BioBlitzes also have the potential to significantly contribute to the protection and recovery of species at risk, responsible land use planning, and scientific research. Due to the high cost of professional inventories and a lack of species documentation, very little information is available about the diversity and distribution of species in Eastern Ontario. Documenting and sharing species occurrences provides an invaluable service for furthering our understanding of our natural environment. Biological inventories are also a major step for responsible land management planning and stewardship projects.

Where to have a BioBlitz?

BioBlitzes can occur on a variety of property types and sizes including private properties, conservation lands, parks, crown land and even entire cities. Conducting inventories on privately owned land can be particularly useful as it provides information about areas that would otherwise have restricted access. However, private land owners considering hosting a BioBlitz on their property should be aware of the implications of finding a species at risk on their property and be committed to habitat protection and responsible land stewardship. If protecting biodiversity is not a priority for you, you probably should not be considering having a BioBlitz.