Stanley Park BioBlitz Results

Stanley Park Ecology Society hosted its third BioBlitz on August 12th and 13th as part of the national celebration of biodiversity and Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation. This BioBlitz is one of the 38 ‘Canada 150’ nation-wide signature projects.  We are thankful for the support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the Department of Canadian Heritage and TD Friends of the Environment that has made these events possible.  This year, thousands of Canadians connected with nature and became “citizen scientists”.

This 24 hour biological inventory saw volunteer scientists identifying hundreds of living organisms in Stanley Park while our programming showcased the natural wonders of Stanley Park to members of the public. Dozens of exhibitors joined the fun at the Festival on the first day of the event.

Our scientific surveys were led by our committed team of scientists and experts leading 21 walks and surveys.  Community members of all ages had the opportunity to meet and learn about creatures’ homes, while scientists collected data about which species reside in the Park.   More than a thousand visitors participated in these surveys including a beach seine, visits to the Native Plant Demonstration Garden, bat mist netting, hummingbird banding, walks led by local First  Nation’s leaders to name just a few.   

To see the results of the survey, visit http://inaturalist.ca/projects/stanley-park-bioblitz-2017-bioblitz-2017-de-parc-stanley. More than 50 liverworts and mosses still need to be identified and uploaded to this database!

Attaching a leg band to a very compliant Anna’s Hummingbird. (Photo: Michael Schmidt/SPES)

A quick energy drink just before release. (Photo: Michael Schmidt/SPES)

The roof of the Nature House and the shore of Beaver Lake were transformed into mini-festival sites.  Partners and exhibitors were joined by SPES outreach teams and shared their enthusiastic perspectives of the natural world. The Vancouver Aquarium and the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society also contributed to the fun!

Although the Park is surrounded by cities, it is an oasis for a wide range of plants, animals, fungi and pollinators. Wetlands like Beaver Lake and Lost Lagoon teem with an amazing variety of plants and wildlife. One highlight of the weekend was the identification of a fresh water bryozoan (Pectinatella magnifica) that had yet to be identified in Stanley Park. This species has only been found in a handful of other locations in BC. This is one of many species we have added to the Stanley Park life-list of species. You can read more about it at http://stanleyparkecology.ca/2017/08/29/creature-lost-lagoon/

A new discovery in Stanley Park- a freshwater bryozoan found in Lost Lagoon. (Photo: Michael Schmid/SPES)

There are still a number of species that have been collected and are being identified. These will be added to the final report on what was identified in the Park over the 24-hour blitz. These results help SPES Conservation staff track the ecological health of the Park and guide future conservation efforts such as prioritizing areas for restoration or habitat enhancement. Please stay tuned for the report which will be posted on our website at www.stanleyparkecology.ca by the beginning of October.

Stanley Park Ecology Society would like to thank all the scientists, partner organizations and volunteers who worked to make this weekend such a tremendous success!  We would also like to thank Heritage Canada, Canadian Wildlife Federation and TD Friends of the Environment for their financial support that made this event possible.

By Celina Starnes, Public Education and Outreach Manager