Celebrate Biosphere Day

Moose spotted during a citizen-science study in the Beaver Hills Moraine. Moose are an important part of the Beaver Hills Initiative Biosphere. Beaver Hills Biosphere Day is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14 and Nature Conservancy Canada is hoping to attract citizen scientists. Photo Supplied

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Conserving our natural spaces is the focus of an event at the Beaver Hills Biosphere Saturday, Sept. 14.

Nature Conservancy Canada is hoping to get you out of your house this Saturday and out into the wilderness to celebrate Beaver Hills Biosphere Day.

The celebration kicks off at 9 a.m. just off Wye Road near Range Road 204 with a bio-blitz. The bio-blitz asks everyone to wander around the boreal forest and aspen parkland to identify as many species as possible.

After that wraps up a free barbeque lunch is scheduled at the Beaver Hills Biodiversity Trail, which is off of Range Road 211. The barbeque lunch will also be a chance for visitors to find out more about the biosphere and what plans are in the works for conservation of the 1572 square kilometre site, which has been designated Canada’s 18th UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

UNESCO gives biosphere recognition to collaborative community efforts that use sound scientific methods to support sustainable development. UNESCO’s biosphere recognition also puts the areas under Beaver Hills Initiative on an international map as a wildlife and recreational destination.

The afternoon is also set to be busy Saturday at the biosphere with an event called Birds and the Bees running from 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. That event is near Township Road 504 and Range Road 205 near Gambling Lake. You’re invited to come out for the annual nest box check-up that monitors bird and bee nesting.

The event will show off the underground bee and bird nest boxes that were assembled and installed by volunteers in 2016.

The Beaver Hills Biosphere is extensively treed and consists of rolling to hummocky terrain is rich in native wetlands and is an aspen-dominated boreal mixed wood forest habitat.

The Beaver Hills Initiative encompasses parts of Strathcona County, Leduc, Camrose, Lamont and Beaver counties as well as Miquelon Provincial Park, Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, Elk Island National Park, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village and the Strathcona Wilderness Centre. All of these locations are included under the biosphere recognition.

Registration is required to participate in the volunteer scientist events to ensure a responsible conservation of the lands. The barbecue on the biodiversity trail is however open to anyone.

You can find out more about Beaver Hills Biosphere Day by visiting Nature Conservancy Canada and searching Beaver Hills Biosphere Day in the search bar.