Winter is a wonderous time, as anyone with kids, puppies, or skis can attest! Let the wonder of winter inspire and engage you as you explore the Beaver Hills Biosphere, extending from Elk Island National Park to Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. Bring your skis, your sense of adventure, and a phone or camera to observe, record, and experience this Biosphere during the Beaver Hills Bioblitz. World Snow Day in the Beaver Hills kicks off on January 16 on January 16 from 1-4 pm at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre, and the bioblitz runs until February 15!
This year the Beaver Hills Bioblitz kicks off at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre as part of World Snow Day, which includes a variety of innovative and engaging activities. All activities are designed to be contactless and limit crowding or being close to people outside your bubble, thus ensuring your safety while you and your family explore this winter wonderland 40 km east of Edmonton. Dress warmly (there are no warming huts available), bring some hot chocolate and snacks, and see what you can discover.
Check out these great activities:
- “Wild Wings” birding – use your navigational skills to find metal bird silhouettes along the trails.
- Ski orienteering courses set up by the Edmonton Overlanders Orienteering Club.
- “Northern Throwdowns” self-timed skiing event.
- “Fisherletics” fitness signs on the Multi-Purpose Trail.
And… enjoy a little community science along the way.
Your observations matter!
The Alberta Chapter of The Wildlife Society (ACTWS) has been a proud supporter of Beaver Hills Bioblitz in the past and we’re super happy to work with the Strathcona Wilderness Centre and the Friends of Elk Island again to bring you an opportunity to learn about Alberta wildlife on your skiing, snowshoeing, and walking adventures. This year, we’re working together to connect you with iNaturalist, an internationally acclaimed community science app where you can record your wildlife observations on your phone over the duration of the bioblitz from January 16 to February 15! iNaturalist is a great platform where you can not only be part of a community of naturalists discussing and sharing wildlife observations across Canada, but your observations can contribute directly to growing databases used by wildlife biologists in active research projects, such as the Astotin project in Strathcona County. Various members of the ACTWS work with iNaturalist data regularly and they are calling on you to help out!
It’s easy to use and your data will inform science and wildlife management in your backyard! Download the iNaturalist app to your device and search for the Beaver Hills Bioblitz project page to get started.
Be a part of the iNaturalist community scientists in Strathcona County!
iNaturalist is currently being used by the Astotin Watershed Resiliency Study in Strathcona County. This is a flood resiliency project that aims to provide flood mitigation solutions that maintain biodiversity using nature-based and engineering options and community involvement. To date, the iNaturalist app has be used to capture 3789 observations of 917 species, from 367 observers and 738 verifying participants in this small watershed west of Elk Island National Park. This information has helped confirm the level of biodiversity in this watershed, which is an important link between the North Saskatchewan River, Elk Island National Park and the rest of the Beaver Hills Biosphere. Other users of the data include parks managers, university researchers and other land managers active within the Biosphere. Check out the Beaver Hills Biosphere Project on iNaturalist to see current species stats and log your observations to the Beaver Hills Bioblitz from January 16th to February 13th to help build data for the biosphere.
Participate and WIN!
Log an entry in iNaturalist on the Beaver Hills Bioblitz Project between January 16 and February 15, 2022, and you can enter to win an annual family pass to all Parks Canada Natural and Historic Parks and $100 cash! If you already have a Parks pass, we’ll arrange for a new one when it expires. Thank you to the Friends of Elk Island Society for hosting this sweet contest!
So, grab your skis, snowshoes, or warm boots and head to the Strathcona Wilderness Centre on January 16 from 1-4. You may not know what critters you’ll find, but you’ll definitely find a good time!