Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System BioBlitz and Plant Sale

Friday September 20 and Saturday September 21; Arboretum

bioblitzers with butterfly nets

Fall for Biodiversity

The lands and waters of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System are a Canadian biodiversity hotspot. Join an enthusiastic team of EcoPark System partners, expert naturalists, and the public for our third annual Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System BioBlitz and help us document the biodiversity in the area.

Become a citizen scientist for the day and join local experts on a guided hike to identify plants and wildlife on Friday, September 20th and Saturday, September 21st, 2019.

Already an expert? Be a part of the 24-hour BioBlitz on Friday, September 20th, 2019.

New for 2019: Saturday's Plant Sale and Public Pavilion. Chat with community groups about their work, learn about important native wildlife, and visit local plant vendors to purchase native plants.


Expert examining plant matter

1. Already an Expert?

Starting bright and early and extending all day on Friday, September 20, experienced naturalists will be blitzing Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System properties to identify as many wild things as possible. Registration is required.


group looking through binoculars outside

2. Want to Try Something New in Nature?

Join an expert on a guided hike on Friday, September 20 or Saturday, September 21 for an opportunity to identify unique plant and wildlife. Space is limited, so registration is required.

While the event will run rain or shine, the guided hike schedule is subject to change based on extreme weather conditions.

Guided hike registration has now closed. Drop-in spaces on these hikes are subject to availability.

  • Trees: 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday Sept 20; Registration full!
  • Bats & Owls: 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday Sept 20; Registration full!
  • Birds: 7 to 8:30 a.m. on Saturday Sept 21
  • Trees, Ferns, & Wildflowers: 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday Sept 21; Registration full!
  • Dragonfly & Damselfly: 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday Sept 21
  • Plants & Seeds: 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday Sept 21
  • Butterflies (RBG Arboretum): 10:30 to 12 p.m. on Saturday Sept 21; Registation full!
  • Butterflies (RBG Princess Point): 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday Sept 21
  • Butterflies (RBG Rock Chapel): 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday Sept 21
  • Lichen: 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday Sept 21
  • Plants & Seeds: 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday Sept 21

The guided hike schedule is subject to change.


goldenrod in bloom

3. Bring Biodiversity Home

Native Plant Sale; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visit displays from local plant vendors and community groups on Saturday, September 21. There will be fun activities and opportunities to learn about Canada’s biodiversity hotspot. Native plant species, which are hassle free and often bloom year-round, will be for sale.

No registration required.


What is a BioBlitz?

A BioBlitz brings together taxonomic experts, citizen scientists and the general public to inventory all species (plants, animals, fungi, and more) in an area over a 24-hour period. Participants record all the organisms they find, and then experts verify their identity.

The species records are compiled into a single data set, the species list, which provides a snapshot of the biodiversity in that location on that date.

For a recap of 2017's Canada150 BioBlitz, please watch this video!

Our thanks to

for supporting this event


Event FAQ

Have a question about this year's BioBlitz? Click the topics below for more information. If you have a question that is not answered, give us a call at 905-527-1158.

Admission >>

This is a free event. Registration is required for guided hikes. Parking charges apply for non-permit holders.

Directions and Parking >>

All hikes will begin at Royal Botanical Garden’s Arboretum (16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton, L0R 2H9). If your hike takes place off-site, you will meet your hike leaders at the Arboretum before driving to the hike location. You must provide your own transportation. The Plants Sale is at the Arboretum as well.

RBG Members have access to free parking at the Arboretum. Non-RBG members will be required to pay for parking at one of the on-site meters. You are responsible for your own transportation between the Arboretum and hikes that take place at Princess Point and Rock Chapel.

RBG's Arboretum is not accessible by public transit at this time.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of your hike to check-in. Drop-in participation may be allowed if space is available.

Food and Beverages >>

Tea Amo Travelling Tea Trailer will be on-site at the Arboretum from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with hot tea, iced tea, and dainty treats available to purchase.

We recommend bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy in the Arboretum. Please plan to pack-out any waste. Limited table spaces will be available.

Native Plant Sale >>

The Native Plant Sale will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Arboretum. Not all vendors accept cards, so bring cash.

Pets / Service Animals >>

With the exception of service dogs, dogs/cats/animals are not permitted on the guided hikes. Dogs are permitted at the Native Plant Sale and Public Pavilion, but must remain leashed at all times.

Inclement Weather >>

This event is rain or shine. However, in the event of severe inclement weather RBG staff may cancel the guided hikes.

Smoking >>

Effective January 1, 2012, Royal Botanical Gardens and its property is smoke-free. Smoking of any kind (including e-cigarettes) is prohibited in all properties owned by Royal Botanical Gardens. This includes all buildings, garden areas, natural lands, trails and parking areas including vehicles. All visitors to Royal Botanical Gardens must leave Royal Botanical Gardens property in order to smoke.

Accessibility >>

Much of this event takes place on grassy areas. The guided hikes take place along the hiking trails, which are quite uneven in places and can include long hills and slopes.


Past Results

Check out the summary of our 2017 and 2018 BioBlitz results from iNaturalist! Here is what Canada’s nationwide BioBlitz looked like in 2017.

20182017infographic from BioBlitz Canada 150