From noon Saturday to noon Sunday, over 60 scientists - many of them experts in their fields - will be scouring Whistler in search of species, counting everything they can put a name to while looking for the most unique finds. Some of the participants in BioBlitz this year include a mammal tracking team from Washington State and a group from the Native Plant Society of B.C.
It might not seem like there's lot going on for people who have trouble distinguishing frogs from toads or one species of pine tree from the next, but public education is a major part of BioBliz.
From noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Alpha Lake Park there will be family friendly presentations by various experts, with the Wild Things Scavenger Hunt for kids taking place between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
At 7:30 p.m. there will be a nature and history tour with forester Don MacLaurin, sponsored by the Whistler Museum and Archives. Following that, if weather permits, the scientists will host another night critter walk in search of nocturnal species. If it's raining there will be a presentation at Legends in Creekside.
After that point it's all business for scientists, many of which will go without sleep and continue to search through the night.
From 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, members of the public can join the Whistler Golf Course Blitz. You must RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
From 10 a.m. to noon, Alpha Lake Park will host a presentation called "Swamp Monsters," with life specimens of swamp dwellers on display.
At noon, all of the scientists return with their findings - sometimes actual samples of plants and animals, sometimes photos and sometimes first-hand accounts.
In 2010, BioBlitz scientists counted a record 700 species in a 24-hour period, about 200 more than the previous year - mainly aided by a spider expert who identified dozens of species.
In five years, the BioBlitz has also been responsible for adding 100 species to the list maintained by the Whistler Biodiversity Project, which is up to 2,500 life forms including plants, fungus, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and all sorts of insects.
Scientists will be venturing into new terrain this year, with a ZipTrek Canopy Blitz sponsored by ZipTrek and a River of Golden Dreams Blitz (only open to scientists).
All of the presentations and walks are free, with support for BioBlitz from the RMOW, Whistler Golf Course, ZipTrek Ecotours, the Community Foundation of Whistler, the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, the Whistler Biodiversity Project, Subway Creekside, Creekbreak, Creekside Market, Dusty's, Blackomb Sign Shop and Legends Whistler.