BioBlitz extends into local schools for 11th edition 

Annual celebration of Whistler’s biodiversity runs June 2 to 4

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOERN ROHDE / COURTESY OF THE WHISTLER NATURALISTS
  • Photo by Joern Rohde / Courtesy of the Whistler Naturalists

Education has always been at the heart of Whistler Naturalists’ mandate for BioBlitz.

The annual race to count the hundreds of plants, animals, and fungi that call Whistler home has been helping researchers gather a fuller picture of this area’s wide-ranging biodiversity for over a decade now.

To mark the event’s 11th edition, which runs June 2 to 4, BioBlitz scientists will be taking their expertise into local schools for the first time, giving the scientists of tomorrow a glimpse at the life of a field biologist. These “Junior Scientists” will help collect biodiversity data and receive mentorship from some of B.C.’s top biologists.

“We’re especially excited about this year’s BioBlitz,” said the Whistler Naturalists’ Bob Brett in a release. “It’s great to welcome back so many veteran BioBlitz scientists and it’s great so many have happily agreed to present their knowledge to students from Kindergarten through high school ages.”

“Each year it’s great to see people get really excited about something they see or learn about at BioBlitz,” said the Whistler Naturalists’ president Kristina Swerhun. “I am thrilled so many school classes will be involved this year. Our previous events were always during summer vacation so this is a huge opportunity to reach more young people.”

This year’s festivities will also include a celebration of “the amazing contribution” of the Whistler-Pemberton Breeding Bird Survey, which is scheduled to coincide with BioBlitz this year. The public can also learn more about the bird survey at a keynote presentation on Friday night at Legends Hotel, and at the Tour de Pemberton birding event on Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, at the bridge over Pemberton Creek near the Nature House.

“We also welcome the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of the six birders who come to Whistler each year to conduct the annual Breeding Bird Survey,” Brett continued. “Without their incredible dedication, we wouldn’t have 40 years of in-depth knowledge about bird populations in our area.”

Of course, no BioBlitz would be complete without its namesake scientific survey that has, over the course of its history, tallied an impressive 1,200 species never before recorded in Whistler. Volunteer scientists will look to add to that total on Friday, before heading off to Pemberton on Saturday, and the Pinecrest/Brandywine areas on Sunday.

For the full schedule or to learn more, visit www.whistlerbioblitz.ca.

Speaking of BioBlitz, Whistler Naturalists

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