Volunteers put numbers to nature

Close to 100 people turned out to get a look at the diverse collection of ecology in the Bulkley Valley for the first Bioblitz.

About 100 volunteers counted over 500 species of flora and fauna during the first ever Bulkley Valley Bioblitz.

About 100 volunteers counted over 500 species of flora and fauna during the first ever Bulkley Valley Bioblitz.

Close to 100 people turned out to get a look at the diverse collection of ecology in the Bulkley Valley for the first Bioblitz.

According to the event’s coordinator, Patrick Williston, over 500 species were counted. The nature enthusiasts took to the paths around the Twin Falls recreation site for this year’s event.

“It’s a really, very interesting place biologically,” said Williston. “You have some coastal influences creeping over through the Coast range so you have species like western hemlock quite dominant in there whereas in the rest of the Bulkley Valley you don’t really get hemlock.”

Other plants, like the Salmon berry, are also more typical of coastal ecology but are found in that area.

“Then you have the influence of the glacier which brings some alpine species down toward the valley bottom just by virtue of the cold air drainage coming off the ice,” he said. “And then you have this enormous spray zone from the Twin Falls themselves and so you have this super-humid area where basically plants and animals are bathed in water for most of the year.”

‘Bioblitzes’ like these fill a void in the inventory of area ecology. Williston said that an inventory of the regional ecology hasn’t really been done in any systematic way.

“So we’re providing new information about the place that we live,” he said.

All the organizers of the event will get together soon to figure out where they should go next year.

“There are countless areas that we could go to but we’re going to sit down sometime in the fall with the folks that were involved and have a little meeting and try to decide what would be a suitable place for next year.”

Williston said he was happy with the large turnout, which included a lot of kids and people who braved the sub-par weather, although he’s not sure that sunny weather would have brought more people, or just sent them to the beaches.

Volunteers to the event were also awarded for their efforts with some portini mushrooms. Mushrooms have been thriving in this summer’s dampness and some were collected during the Bioblitz.