Bioblitz At A Glance: Kluane National Park And Reserve

Kluane National Park and Reserve | Photo Credit: Jennifer Ellis

At this time of year in the Yukon, the sun never sets. The landscape is beautiful and desolate. Outside of the cities, it’s open and wild; it was easy to go for days without seeing another person. This year’s Northern bioblitz took place at Kluane National Park and Reserve. Kluane National Park has the largest ice fields that aren’t in the polar ice caps and the tallest mountain in Canada, Mount Logan. It is the traditional territory of the Southern Tutchone people. This Yukon bioblitz was a scientist-only affair, with lots of collecting, record-making, and most importantly, sharing.

Chris Stinson | Photo Credit: Jennifer Ellis

Our tetrapod and arthropod specialists made their way up to the Northern province in late June. The previous entomology curator of the Spencer Entomological Collection , Syd Cannings, and his brothers Rob and Dick Cannings collected from the Yukon in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but there hasn’t been much collection from the area since. Over the course of a week, the team collected all in Kluane National Park, along the Haines Highway, and then collected along the Klondike highway to Whitehorse.  Spots were chosen based on recommendations from Syd Cannings, but also just what looked interesting; gut feeling is often a good place to start with these sorts of things.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Ellis

Most of the scientists that participated in this bioblitz at the park were botanists and entomologists. In the mess hall of the field station, everyone would share their finds with each other, pin their bugs or press their plants. Stories were shared and specimens showed off; there was a mutual understanding of substantial finds. Essentially, experts from across Canada were all geeking out with each other. We live in a world where commercialization and corporatization has made people in academia hold their findings close to their chest before they publish, but at this bioblitz, sharing was the norm.

There was the thrill of discovery and the joy of sharing, contribution, and accomplishment during the Yukon bioblitz. Bioblitzes bring people together to wonder at the world all around us.