Engage in citizen science and learn more about what’s living in your backyard!
Between May 24th and 28th, Wintergreen Studios will be holding its 3rd annual Land Art BioBlitz where participants will have the opportunity to identity wildlife, explore the outdoors, and participate in workshops ranging from music jams to salamander and dragonfly identification. Help celebrate Canada 150 by exploring its natural heritage and learning to love its amazing diversity!
Want to learn more about wildlife identification and spend the day (or night) outdoors exploring? Want to get up close and personal with slime mold? Want to create a cacophony of nature sounds inside a geodesic dome? You can do all of these things and more at the Land Art BioBlitz! BioBlitzes bring together expert and amateur naturalists to identify as many species as possible, creating an inventory of living things used to observe future changes.
The term “BioBlitz” was coined during the first 24-hour identification event, which took place at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Washington, DC, in 1996. Early BioBlitzes were held to measure the biodiversity of a site, which gives insight into the health and productivity of an ecosystem. Now many BioBlitzes include nature-themed programs such as ID workshops, guided hikes, and family-friendly activities to teach and excite the public about biodiversity. A combination of scientific survey and environmental education make for a fun, enriching outdoor experience.
So, what makes the Wintergreen BioBlitz different? This year, instead of it being a race to identify as many living organisms as possible in a 24-hour period, we’re planning a “slow” BioBlitz, to be held over five days. The idea is to mirror and honour the Slow Food Movement, giving everyone a chance to form a deeper connection with the natural world. It will challenge us to be more mindful and take the time to enjoy all the area and atmosphere has to offer.
Has anyone ever told you to take a hike? Well now you can, guided by an experienced naturalist! Wintergreen has lined up an amazing cast of instructors and many exciting nature and arts workshops for this year’s BioBlitz. “What makes this BioBlitz unique is that it’s way more than just species identification,” says Kate Belmore, BioBlitz 2017 co-chair. “It’s all about learning what’s out there, creating a better understanding of why biodiversity is so important, and learning how the arts both honour and extend the beauty and complexities of the natural world.”
The BioBlitz will also be host to many exciting workshops this year. Join Jesse Stewart, composer, percussionist, artist, and educator, for an impromptu music jam and a multitude of interactive musical workshops, taking us behind the scenes of our natural soundscape. Stewart will also be creating land art installations made from natural materials, to be left on-site for all to admire and eventually returning back to the earth. Richard Aaron, professional naturalist from Toronto, will transport us into the wonderful world of wildlife – exploring birding for beginners; dragonflies and damselflies, our aerial acrobats and hunters; slime moulds, half animal, half plant; and a peek at some of our rarely seen nocturnal moth species. Matt Ellerbeck, aka The Salamander Man, will be back with his crew of slimy amphibians to educate participants on the conservation of salamanders. Marie Bencze, organic vegetable farmer and founder of Rad Kids, will be showing participants how to forage the land in search of wild edibles and teach us the importance of our endangered pollinators. Bronwyn Harkness, passionate naturalist and Masters student in biology at Queen’s University, will help us look and listen for some of the local birds and learn what they’re singing about.
“There are serious environmental challenges facing our world, and loss of biodiversity is one of them,” says Monica Capovilla, BioBlitz Program Director. “We marvel at iconic species in other parts of the world, yet many of us are much less familiar with the sheer magnitude of diversity of living things that share our common spaces and the habitats that support them.
BioBlitzes are designed to raise awareness about our current status of biodiversity and to motivate people to consider environmentally respectful practices. Every small step matters and taking the time to educate the next generation of naturalists and scientists is how change can take place down the line.”
Come for an hour, for a day, or for the entire 5-day stretch! Join us for this free, family-friendly, outdoor and environmental education retreat. Come explore the stunning land, help identify species, meet other like-minded people, and learn something new from one of the many nature and arts workshops. Day or night, you can explore the grandiosity that makes up the natural world and discover many new things about our precious planet during this extraordinary event.
About Wintergreen Studios
Wintergreen Studios is a non-profit organization and year-round, off-grid arts and wilderness educational retreat centre, located in the heart of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, in South Frontenac, ON. It boasts a stunning and richly diverse 204-acre property featuring a network of over a dozen hiking trails through mixed forests and meadows, granite outcroppings, ponds, marshes, and even a glacier carved lake. It is home to a wide range of plant and wildlife, which makes it a perfect host for a BioBlitz.