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On July 30th, I attended BioBlitz in Smithers. This event, hosted by the BV Naturalists and the BV Research Centre, featured 24 hours of flora and fauna fun out at Twin Falls!

My friend and I arrived at BioBlitz to find a large crowd of people of all ages filling the parking lot of Twin Falls. There were local experts who were conducting different presentations throughout the day, and for each presentation, they needed help to gather samples. As we arrived, there was a group of kids heading off to hunt for insects, and there were a couple people returning to one of the tents with a frog in each hand. The researchers recorded the species of every plant and animal found to compare to past and present BioBlitz years. We attempted to find a frog to add to the list, but instead found a really cool jelly fungus! Well, we didn't know it was called that at the time - we were pretty sure we'd uncovered a new scientific discovery of an alien species! Apparently this year has been a great year for fungi growth, so the list of fungi was getting pretty long. My photo is of a HUGE mushroom that somebody had added to the collection - I'd never seen one this big before!

After looking at our jelly fungus under the microscope, we joined the fun at the art table. They had Foxtail plants that we used as paintbrushes and we placed juicy berries all over our pages before placing a board on top of the page and jumped on them to create "Squished Berry Art". I think the 7 year old next to me made a prettier picture than I did, but I still had fun making it!

At about 10pm, I returned to BioBlitz to see a demonstration about bats. The experts set up nets and used a neat sonar-detecting instrument to try to catch a bat or two and while we waited, the experts told me a bunch of neat facts about bats. Unfortunately bats don't like rain, so we didn't manage to catch any to look at, but I really enjoyed talking with the experts about their past research experiences and learning about the bats in our area (and we also ventured into talking about owls and other night-time animals).

If you get a chance to attend next year's BioBlitz, it would definitely be a lot of fun! Whether you're interested in plants, fungi, mammals, insects, or birds, you'll be able to learn something new about the different ecosystems around Smithers!

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Taken on July 27, 2011