In celebration of Ontario Parks’ 125th anniversary, and with two practice runs for local schools already under their belt, Murphys Point Provincial Park staff are looking forward to inviting the public to join them for their second annual Bioblitz on Saturday the 18th. of August.
Come and identify species in the park!
A bioblitz is a short period of time, usually 24 hours, in which experts and hobbyists come together to record all nature sightings in a given area. The bioblitz at Murphys Point on August 18 will be packed with discovery and exploration activities for children and adults alike.
There will be a central “lab” area where the public can share their sightings. Park interpreters, along with several special guest experts, will be available to guide hikes and lend field guides, binoculars, nets and other equipment.
A rare landscape in southern Ontario
Murphys Point Provincial Park sits on the edge of the Frontenac Arch, a bridge of Precambrian rock that links the Canadian Shield with the Adirondack Mountains and the Appalachians in the US.
As such, it is home to a wide variety of wildlife rarely found elsewhere in southern Ontario. For this reason, we would love to better understand what species live in the park.
The benefits of citizen science
This is where the bioblitz concept really comes into play. It’s a citizen science method of bringing together the public (experts, informals, and everyone in between) for a day of discovery. Every species observed by participants counts, from the smallest insects to the largest trees.
Last year, during the inaugural bioblitz, visitors discovered more than 750 species in a single weekend, of which 240 were new to the park’s list.
Using free citizen science tools like iNaturalist, a good proportion of those species were photographed and made permanently available to the public.
Mark Read, park naturalist at Murphys Point, suggests that “using iNaturalist is a great way to not only share observations, but also a fantastic tool to learn more about the wildlife around you.
With experts ‘on the other end’ (from iNaturalist) helping to make identifications, recording the species found in your own backyard, local conservation area or provincial park is, in its own way, its own bioblitz.”
Finally! A mid-summer bioblitz
Since many bioblitzes typically take place in June, Murphys Point is trying something different.
The later date (August 18) will show a number of flowering plants and insects not normally seen earlier in the year. It will also provide a better opportunity for families to get involved, with the summer holidays in full swing.
We hope you can join us!
Whether you’re here for the day or staying longer, be sure to head down to the main beach to see how things are going. Who knows, you might even find something new for the park!
Algonquin Provincial Park also hosts bioblitz events. Look at them!
To help celebrate the 125th anniversary of Ontario Parks, parks across the province are hosting stewardship programs to help protect biodiversity in provincial parks. This project is one of 13 Ontario Parks 125th Anniversary Stewardship Projects taking place throughout 2018.