Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
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"I left inspired to protect the special places in my own backyard."
Sara Renner, Y2Y supporter

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Flathead BioBlitz Tour

Scientists converge in B.C.'s Flathead River Valley for a tour to learn more about the region's unique ecosystem.

What do you find when three entomologists, a botanist, a gastropod (slugs and snails) expert, a limnologist (a freshwater scientist) and an ornithologist (birds) spend a week in British Columbia’s (B.C.) Flathead River Valley?

For one: a newly-described spider species that moves so fast that the scientists named it after a sleek Italian motorcycle: Apostenus ducati!

Flathead River Valley. Photo: Jaime Rojo

Scientists have known for a long time that B.C.’s Flathead– adjacent to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park – is a hotspot for plant and mammal biodiversity. But not much was known about the smaller creatures that call this place home until the Flathead Wild team, which includes Y2Y, organized the first-ever Flathead BioBlitz in 2012, with scientists from the Royal BC Museum (RBCM).

To showcase the amazing results from the BioBlitz RBCM scientists Melissa Frey and Claudia Copley led a speaking tour that reached hundreds of people at separate events in Vancouver, Fernie, Cranbrook and Canmore. 

Frey and Copley said they are struck by how uncontaminated the Flathead is by non-native species.

“It’s a fascinating ecological area,” says Copley. “In so many places, the most commonly seen species are invasive. But in the Flathead, we didn't find a single spider that was not a native species."

Photo: Roy Toft
Birders Colin Campbell, Greg Ross, Jason Rogers and Gareth Thomson joined Copley and Frey on the stage at different events to talk about the 115 bird species they helped identify during the second BioBlitz in June 2013, which focused on birds and bats.

While the guest speakers varied at different legs of the tour, their message was the same: The Flathead is a special place and it deserves permanent protection!