Bio-Mapping the Commons: First of Five

Deborah Ferens and Heather Menzies

Gabriola Commons

Wednesday, March 25 2015

The Commons is holding its first seasonal bio-mapping exercise at the Commons on Saturday March 29, 11 am to 4 pm.  Other communities have demonstrated that “bio-blitzes” require many citizens to make a one-day collection of ecological information both rigorous and successful.  So Commons organizers are hoping that lots of people will come out to collaborate in observing and learning about the natural environment of plants, soil, wetlands and water life.  It doesn’t matter if you think of yourself as a citizen scientist, an environmental professional or simply curious to know more.  What’s needed are attentive eyes and hands to observe and collect data to help develop a “baseline inventory” of the ecological diversity of the Commons.  This will be filed with the covenant that will formalize Gabriolans’ long term commitment to protection of our unique community commons.

 Bio-mapping borrows from and builds on the kind of bio-blitzing conducted by communities such as Whistler and Victoria.  Here, it will involve identifying and literally mapping the flora and fauna habitat of the Commons.  At this event, groups guided by local scientists or naturalists will set out at 11 am and 2 pm, providing opportunities for every participant to join one or two groups that interest them.  For example, a group might focus on the plants or insects in a given area, the large and microscopic life in the wetlands; the birds, etc. 

If you have a camera, bring it; also a pen, pencil, and a notepad/clipboard, though some of these can also be provided, as will data collection forms.  Wear footwear suitable for tramping around in the woods, in the bush and around the wetlands. 

Refreshments will be provided throughout the day as well

Members of the Covenant Team will be available to answer questions about the pending covenant and to provide maps, forms and appreciative smiles of thanks for participation in this important community event.