A BioBlitz is a special type of field study, where a group of volunteers conduct an intensive 24-hour biological inventory, attempting to identify and record all species of living organisms in an area, while also educating the public about biodiversity.
The Ontario BioBlitz - Rouge Park 2013 took place on September 14 and 15. Stay tuned for details on the 2014 Bioblitz!
Citizen Science in Rouge Park
The 2013 Ontario Bioblitz in Rouge Park is an extraordinary event that engages nature lovers of all ages as citizen scientists. Its goal is to document all life in Rouge Park while educating Ontarians about the importance of our biological diversity. Working together, scientists and members of the public identify and record all animal, plant and fungal species they find in the Park over a 24-hour time period.
The inaugural Ontario BioBlitz-Rouge Park, the largest survey of its kind in Canadian history, was held in June 2012, and attracted more than 225 participants. This year’s event promises to be even bigger and better!
The Ontario BioBlitz was the brain child of the Toronto Zoo, the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Nature, Rouge Park, the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority and the Rouge Valley Conservation Centre. With Ontario’s population becoming increasingly urbanized and “plugged in”, we saw a clear need for hands-on outdoor activities that celebrate the wonder and variety of our province’s nature while inspiring participants to become champions for our wild species and wild spaces.
As provincially and nationally respected science and education leaders, we are uniquely qualified to bring this celebration of nature to Ontario’s citizens. Between us, we have many decades of experience delivering quality environmental education programming and important scientific research to diverse audiences. With the addition of Parks Canada and the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario as partners this year, the Ontario BioBlitz will continue to grow and attract participants from all walks of life.
A Park for Everyone
The Rouge Park is a unique natural area with a unique history. Encompassing more than 40 km² of nature and farmland within the Greater Toronto Area, it is slated to become Canada’s first national urban park and the only one accessible by public transit. It is also home to myriad plant and animal species, both common and rare.
We believe that by connecting people with the natural world, we foster in them a lifelong appreciation for its benefits and a desire to contribute to its protection. But, the positive results don’t stop there. The Ontario BioBlitz also inspires people to become more physically active while they learn about local wildlife and habitats by providing a healthy alternative to sedentary, indoor activity.
Our vision is to provide a high quality annual event to all Ontarians who are keen to learn about the fascinating animals, plants, and fungi that call Canada’s soon-to-be national urban park home.
The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario is assisting in species identification at the Ontario Bioblitz through the use of DNA Barcoding. With DNA Barcoding, a small portion of an organism's DNA is analyzed and compared to the same piece of DNA in other specimens. This comparison helps us to identify patterns in the DNA and tell different species apart from one another. For more information, visit http://ibol.org/about-us/what-is-dna-barcoding/
The Rouge BioBlitz 2012 brought together expert biologists, ecologists and naturalists to identify and record all the plants and animals they could find from 3pm on June 15 to 3pm on June 16 in Rouge Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We also raised awareness of how Rouge Park is an important nature reserve for a wide range of flora and fauna in the Greater Toronto Area.
Thanks to all the volunteers who made the Rouge BioBlitz 2012 a huge success!
Have comments on the event? Interested in participating next year? Get in touch with our contacts.