Large portions of the landscape are grasslands and prairie, characterized by a lack of trees (less than 2.5 trees/hectare) include grasses and flowers that grow very tall and lush. The Essex County Field Naturalists’ set out to promote conservation, increase public awareness, compile species records and generate interest in Windsor’s largest natural area. Having a BioBlitz is a great way to accomplish all of these goals.
A BioBlitz is a 24 hour species cataloguing event. Thirty experts and approximately 100 participants set out into the Ojibway Prairie Complex on June 28-29, 2014 to document all flora and fauna they encountered. We found 1120 species (and counting) of flora and fauna, including 12 species never-before recorded in Canada! Forty-Five different orders of organisms were identified; plants and invertebrates made up the largest percentage of species found. Despite lacking experts for a number of species rich groups of organisms (Hymenopterans, Hemipterans, Platyhelminthes, Fungi and others), a large number of taxa were documented by this small, dedicated group. In 2015 we intend to bring in additional experts to cover all the taxa that were underrepresented and bring Windsor-Essex closer to the title of most biodiverse area in Canada. Overall, the BioBlitz provided a family-friendly, novel, engaging way to promote and catalogue biodiversity.