Is it a bird? Photo Gerry Leibel

BioBlizt botanists burrow beneath bogs

‘Citizen scientists’ helped to generate scientific data

Kitimat’s bushes and bayous were awash with eager botanists and birdwatchers last weekend.

The 50 or so participants in the Kitimat Canada 150 BioBlitz braved the cold and rain on Saturday and Sunday as part of a countrywide program which pairs ordinary citizens, conservationists and specialists to contribute to a national inventory of Canadian species.

The ‘citizen scientists’ helped to generate scientific data and hopefully identify new species, information which is used to inform choices on issues such as climate change and loss of biodiversity.

Organizer Kasia Kistowska said on Saturday alone participants identified 50 bird species and 47 sockeye fry.

They were also treated to the sight of snow geese, which Kistowska said was unusual considering the geese have by this time usually migrated to the north.

The event was sponsored by the Department of Canadian Heritage, LNG Canada and Rio Tinto.

Kistowska thanked Howard and Ruth Mills, Hidden River Management, Haisla First Nation, Kitimat Hatchery, Kitimat Valley Naturalists, Andy Lecuyer from Rio Tinto and Mary Ellen from LNG Canada, Matt Beedle and Catharine White from Northwest Community College and Travis Gerwing from UNBC.