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2014 Ontario BioBlitz to Set Up Camp in Humber Valley

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 16, 2014, KLEINBURG ON - From May 24 to 25, the 2014 Ontario BioBlitz will take place in the Humber Watershed, Toronto’s largest watershed and home to an incredible variety of plant, animal, and fungi species. Now in its third year, the Ontario BioBlitz engages nature lovers of all ages as citizen scientists, with the goal of documenting all life contained within a given area over a 24-hour period and educating Ontarians about the importance of biological diversity.

It is the brainchild of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Toronto Zoo, but now includes partners from across Ontario and Canada including Ontario Nature, Parks Canada, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

"The Ontario BioBlitz Program has the potential to become a nationally and even internationally-scaled citizen science event thanks to a team of amazing partners working to bring it together," said Dave Ireland, Managing Director of the Centre for Discovery in Biodiversity at the ROM. "ROM biologists and educators look forward to once again joining our community in the field to teach and to learn about Toronto's exceptional biodiversity."

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Kortright Centre for Conservation will host this year’s event, offering a full schedule of public programs and family-friendly activities, including gallery tours, guided hikes, and drop-in art workshops.

“The McMichael is thrilled to be acting as one of two base camps for this significant environmental event” said Anna Stanisz, McMichael Associate Director, Creative Learning and Programs. “Participants and visitors will have the unique opportunity to engage with art, nature, science, and history as part of a single program.”

One of the weekend’s most anticipated events is the Toronto Zoo’s presentation featuring some of its animal ambassadors.

“As a leader in the field of saving and protecting species and their habitats, the Toronto Zoo is proud to participate in the 2014 BioBlitz to help identify as many plants, animals, and fungal species as possible, and to educate the public on their importance in our environment,” said  John Tracogna, CEO of the Toronto Zoo.

At the Kortright Centre for Conservation, a series of hikes and workshops dedicated to particular taxon groups, including Birds, Mammals, Plants, Fungi, Invertebrates, Reptiles, and Amphibians, will be offered to visitors who are interested in learning how to conduct inventories and identify species.

"Toronto and Region Conservation is proud to be a partner of the 2014 Ontario BioBlitz, which encourages people to get close to nature, while making a valuable contribution to the work that we do," said Adrian O'Driscoll, Supervisor, Education, Toronto and Region Conservation. "The Humber River Watershed is the largest in TRCA's jurisdiction, so the biological survey of designated areas, including at the Kortright Centre for Conservation, will give us a current view of the biodiversity in this area."

The BioBlitz will kick off on Saturday, May 24 at 10 a.m. at the McMichael with an Aboriginal ceremony led by Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of New Credit, followed by official remarks. A BioBlitz Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day in the McMichael’s Grand Hall, where visitors can learn more about the efforts of local conservation groups, as well as the history of the Humber Valley.

“The Ontario BioBlitz is a great way for people to learn about our province’s wildlife and habitats while gathering important scientific information,” said Lisa Richardson, Nature Network Coordinator, Ontario Nature. “We encourage everyone to come out and join the fun!”

Representatives from each of the partner organizations will be on-site to collect samples, conduct research, and engage with members of the community.

 “A major part of the Canadian Wildlife Federation‘s (CWF) conservation mission is to connect Canadians to nature, so we are excited to be a part of the Humber Watershed BioBlitz,” said James Pagé, Species at Risk and Biodiversity Specialist, CWF. “This fun community event is a wonderful way to get Canadians enjoying and learning about nature while collecting important biodiversity data.”

“The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) is excited to be reaching out to the Humber Watershed community as a partner in the Ontario BioBlitz 2014,” said Jeremy deWaard, Director of Bio-inventory and Collections at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. “It is a great opportunity to discover the biodiversity that exists in an area that so many call home.”

Together, this wide network of leading environmental groups is establishing a model program for engaging people about biodiversity and nature in their backyards.

"We are looking forward to having natural history experts explore the nature reserves and other protected lands in the Happy Valley Forest, in the upper reaches of the Humber River watershed," said Mark Stabb, Central Ontario Program Director for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. "The land has many stories to tell and the BioBlitz will help us learn more about some of its lesser know characters, particularly the invertebrates."

The 2015 Ontario BioBlitz will take place in the Don River Watershed and will be hosted by the Ontario Science Centre.

For more information, visit 2014.ontariobioblitz.ca/wp.

About the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) at the University of Guelph is transforming understanding of the diversity and distribution of species to aid an evidence-based conservation agenda for our planet. Empowered by a globally unique capability for DNA sequencing, informatics, and collections, BIO is illuminating the species found across our nation. It also leads the International Barcode of Life project, the largest research program ever undertaken in biodiversity science.

About the Canadian Wildlife Federation
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, sponsoring research, developing and delivering education programs, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending changes to policy and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.

About the ROM
Opened in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum of natural history and world cultures has six million objects in its collections and galleries showcasing art, archaeology and natural science. The ROM is the largest field research institution in the country, and a world leader in research areas from biodiversity, palaeontology, and earth sciences to archaeology, ethnology and visual culture - originating new information towards a global understanding of historical and modern change in culture and environment. For 24-hour information in English and French, please call 416.586.8000 or visit the ROM’s web site at www.rom.on.ca. Tickets are available online at www.rom.on.ca.

About ROM Centres of Discovery
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has eight areas of focus or Centres of Discovery — Ancient Cultures, Biodiversity, Contemporary Culture, Canada, Earth & Space, Fossils & Evolution, Textiles & Fashions, and World Art & Culture. Each Centre helps our audience better understand the Museum’s encyclopaedic collections and curatorial expertise and recognize the vibrant ROM communities most relevant to them – all towards the realization of the Museum’s promise of connecting visitors to their passion and those who share it.

About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of almost 6,000 artworks by Canadian artists, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of northern landscape and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more information: mcmichael.com    

About the Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares), coast to coast. NCC received an "A+" grade on MoneySense's 2013 rating of the 100 largest charities in Canada—the highest ranking of all Canadian environmental charities and placing us in Canada's top four most efficient charities. To learn more about our projects and help support our work, please visit our website: www.natureconservancy.ca/on

About Ontario Nature
Ontario Nature protects and restores nature through research, education and conservation action. Ontario Nature champions woodlands, wetlands and wildlife, and preserves essential habitat through its own system of nature reserves. It is a charitable organization representing 25,000 members and over 140 member groups across the province, connecting individuals and communities to nature. For more information: www.ontarionature.org

About Toronto and Region Conservation
With 60 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at www.trca.on.ca

About the Toronto Zoo
In 2014 the Toronto Zoo is celebrating 40 Years of saving and protecting wildlife and their habitats at home and abroad.  More than a tourist attraction, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except December 25 and attracts approximately 1.3 million visitors each year.

BioBlitz Partner Logos

 

For media inquiries: 


Wendy Campbell
Manager, Media Relations and Online Presence   
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2201
wcampbell@mcmichael.com

Rachel Weiner
Media Relations and Communications Coordinator
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2210
rweiner@mcmichael.com


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