Windsor

Nature experts invite public to join them for first-ever Point Pelee 'BioBlitz'

The 24-hour species search is part of the national park's 100th anniversary celebrations.

24-hour species search starts Saturday at noon, rain or shine

Point Pelee National Park's iconic marsh boardwalk. (Parks Canada)

This weekend, more than two dozen ecological experts from across the province are descending on Point Pelee National Park — and they want you to join them.

Saturday marks the start of the park's first ever all-species, all-park "BioBlitz."

"A BioBlitz event is great opportunity for participants from the public to explore and discover new plants and animals with local experts," explained park ecologist Tammy Dobbie.

"It's a way that Canadians can kind of connect with special places like ... Point Pelee National Park and ... contribute to science."

Point Pelee Resource Management Officers Rachel Windsor and Heidi Brown using a smartphone loaded with the iNaturalist app. (Parks Canada)

The 24-hour species search starts Saturday at noon. Visitors to the park can join expert-led hikes or venture out on their own, using an app called iNaturalist to keep track to their finds. Staff will be at the visitor centre to assist with the blitz.

"We've got books and we've got a lab set up and we have microscopes ... we have everything that you could need to help identify things," Dobbie said.

Tap on the player to hear Dobbie's conversation with Afternoon Drive guest host Emm Gryner.

If you've always wanted to help discover a new plant or animal species, an event happening this weekend at Point Pelee National Park in Leamington will definitely pique your interest. We spoke to park ecologist Tammy Dobbie about the first-ever Point Pelee BioBlitz. 6:17

Dobbie expects some interesting discoveries with the park being the southernmost point of mainlad Canada.

​"There's a very good possibility we'll find a species of plant or animal that hasn't been documented even in Canada before," she said. "The particular climate we have here allows things to live here that can't live anywhere else in Canada."

But Dobbie is looking forward to receiving reports of common species, too.

"It's going to give us a picture, a snapshot, of the diversity of life at Point Pelee."

The Point Pelee BioBlitz is being held as part of of the park's 100th anniversary celebrations, and will occur rain or shine.

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto is a reporter/editor at CBC Windsor, primarily assigned to Afternoon Drive, CBC Radio's regional afternoon show for southwestern Ontario. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.