Anyone who has lived in one of Whistler’s original, shag-carpeted shacks can attest to the great variety of organisms making Whistler their home. Those aging structures can support a most impressive array of mushrooms, mould, rodents, and bugs — enough diversity to make any scientist squeal with delight.
Luckily, there is more to Whistler than what’s found in a square metre of old shag. Just how much more is what we hope to find out during Whistler’s first BioBlitz.
BioBlitz is a 24-hour race against the clock to count as many organisms as possible. Over 20 scientists will lead the charge at Lost Lake and other sites to count bees, owls, bats, beetles, frogs, slime moulds — and everything else they can find.
The first official BioBlitz was held in 1996 in Washington, DC and the concept has now spread far and wide. The University of Connecticut BioBlitz is maybe the most successful. In this year’s event, 170 scientists counted over 2,200 species on one site!
The trick to pump up the total number of organisms is to have experts in a wide range of specialties, especially insects. That’s why we’re so happy with the lineup of local and visiting scientists who study lichens, mushrooms, plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, fish, and a dizzying array of invertebrates (insects, spiders, snails, and more).
While there’s a serious side to BioBlitz, its real goal is to involve non-scientists of all ages in the fun of nature exploration.
The fun spirit of BioBlitz is captured in a quote from a mother watching her son busily engaged with bugs at the UConn BioBlitz: "If I had attended an event like this when I was his age, I probably would have become a scientist. I just never knew that anything like this existed."
There are lots of ways to get involved. Public events will be offered at Lost Lake throughout the 24 hours of BioBlitz. Some of them are for all youth and adults, others are aimed at kids (accompanied by a parent). All will expand your concept of what lives in Whistler!
For an updated schedule of what’s happening, go to www.whistlerbioblitz.ca .
Free Public Events at Lost Lake
Saturday, August 11 th
12 noon on: Drop by to see what the scientists are up to.
1:30 p.m. Wetland Wonders (youth and adults)
1:30-3:30 p.m. Swamp Monsters (ages 5-9)
3:30 p.m. Phantasmagoric Forests (youth and adults)
8:30-10 p.m. Night Critters (ages 8-80)
Sunday, August 12 th
9 a.m. Wetland Wonders (youth and adults)
10:30 a.m. Bodacious Bugs (youth and adults)
10:30-noon BioBits Scavenger Hunt (ages 5-10)
12 noon Time’s up! Time to announce the final tally
Please note: Children and youth must be accompanied by a parent.
Sunday, Aug. 4 th , 7 a.m. Monthly Bird Count. Join the birding group at the base of Lorimer Road, by the driveway to the Catholic Church. For information, call Michael Thompson
Written by: Bob Brett