Explore nature in a bioblitz

Wintergreen bioblitz banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last December we participated in the annual Christmas bird count, North America’s longest running citizen scientist project. We recorded all our sightings and reported it to the National Audobon society, which uses the data to study trends.

The Christmas bird count is one example of a bioblitz—an intense period of biological surveying that records all living species in a designated area.

Next weekend, Wintergreen Studios near Westport is hosting its fourth annual Land Art BioBlitz for five days, from May 30th to June 3rd. All five days are free, and they invite you to come and explore their 200-acre property and learn more about sustainability, and the biodiversity of our region. The idea is to bring together scientists, naturalists, and the general public to track and learn about wildlife identification and explore the outdoors.

You can drop in any time—no registration is necessary and the events are geared to all ages. Over the course of the five days, there are workshops, guided hikes, music jam sessions featuring sounds of nature, art installations and forest therapy walks. Matt Ellerbeck, the snake man will be there and they’re even holding a square dancing session/astronomy lesson under the stars.

If you’ve never been to Wintergreen Studios, it’s a marvel and a treat. The main lodge is straw-bale construction. There’s a small cut-out in one of the walls so you can see the thickness of the bale. We’ve mainly attended dinner concerts there and have always had a wonderful time.

This week’s #HappyAct is to get back to nature this spring and learn something new about sustainability and the biodiversity of your region.

More happyacts on biodiversity

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Nominate an amazing place

Holleford Crater
Holleford Crater

Recently I spent two weeks in Ireland with my girlfriends. To say it was an amazing vacation is probably an understatement. Ireland is a country full of amazing places and we were lucky enough to discover and explore many of them in our travels.

The Frontenac Arch biosphere, where I live is another amazing place in the world, and they are asking people to nominate an amazing place in our region before September 3, 2015. Long Point and Georgian Bay biospheres are also asking for nominations.

I know how lucky I am to live in Canada and Frontenac County. The Frontenac Arch biosphere is a unique palette of rich fields, limestone, granite, towering pines and crystal blue lakes. It was designated by UNESCO in 2002 as globally significant for its diversity of plant and animal life and geographic features.

I’ve been thinking for the last couple of weeks about which place I would nominate and I’ve decided to nominate three amazing places.

1) Wintergreen Studios on Canoe Lake Road near Westport. Wintergreen is a non-profit year-round education and retreat that hosts programs on the arts and the environment on its 200 acres. We discovered Wintergreen about five years ago and I still think what they are doing there is amazing and commendable. The main lodge is made entirely from straw. We’ve attended some of their music nights, where you get a scrumptious catered meal, followed by terrific music. What makes this place truly amazing is the passion and commitment of Rena Upitis, its founder to educate people on off the grid and sustainable living and to provide people with a unique and beautiful retreat to spark creativity.

2) SpindleTree Gardens in Tamworth. You may remember I blogged last year about this very special place. When I was in Ireland, I toured many beautiful gardens nestled among ruins and castles. I think SpindleTree rivals these great gardens for its beauty, creativity and for the vision of its owners to carve out a piece of paradise from the Canadian shield that reflects and retains the geographical features of this area. It is an amazing place.

3) The Holleford Crater, mainly because it’s just down the road and I think it’s kinda cool that we have a crater formed by a meteor that struck the earth 550 millions of years ago in our own backyard. There is a plaque there that says the meteor was travelling 55,000 kms an hour and blasted a hole 244 metres deep and 2.5 kms wide. That’s pretty amazing.

Now it’s your turn. This week’s #HappyAct is to nominate an amazing place by September 3. Share it here—I somehow doubt the Holleford Crater will make the list but you’ll thank me when you make the trip up here to see it. (Ok, maybe you won’t, but if you drop in, I’ll at least give you a cold beer!)

Gardens
Spindletree Gardens