The Bio Blitz is an annual event run by a diverse committee including members representing Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) Parks Canada, Best Start, Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. Each year, the event aims to connect elementary students with the surrounding natural environment through fun, active, and educational outdoor activities. For example, in the past 6 years, we have engaged over 800 students by planting in excess of 2,000 trees through the generous donation of Hydro One Forestry. This year we are very excited to include more students from North Shore communities. The Top of Lake Superior BioBlitz will provide students from elementary schools (Kindergarten – Grade 8) in the North Shore region with educational and interactive activities about local biodiversity and species at risk, assisting in shoreline clean-up, and also conducting a baseline inventory of aquatic & terrestrial habitat on the shorelines of Lake Superior NMCA. All species identified during the event will be entered into the on-line biodiversity database, iNaturalist.
This year the planning committee successfully obtained extra funding as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations to cover the costs of student bussing and to expand the event from a single day to two full days thereby better serving the schools spread across the North Shore region. With this added support, we expect this year’s BioBlitz to be bigger and better than ever. We have two dates planned for the event: one in Red Rock on June 7 and another in Terrace Bay on June 14. We have invited approximately 390 students from 6 schools to the Red Rock event and an estimated 280 students from 5 schools to the Terrace Bay event.