Scientists holding bioblitz open house today

A scientist scours the soil in the Peace River Valley.

Scientists will give the public an early look Wednesday evening of some of their findings from a bioblitz currently underway along the Peace River.

An open house is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Pearkes Centre in Hudson’s Hope, where scientists from across the country have set up their headquarters.

Sarah Cox of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, one of the organizers of the blitz, said the open house is a chance for the public to meet and greet the 30 scientists involved, and peer into the microscope at some of the specimens — from spiders to rare orchids — collected over the last three days.

“It’s going to take some time to identify everything, they’re not familiar with everything they’ve collected,” Cox said.

“They’re really happy with what they’ve been collecting.”

Scientists from the Biological Survey of Canada, the Royal BC Museum, among other groups, arrived in town Monday and have been scouring the sections of the Peace River that will be flooded by the Site C dam.

They’ve been collecting samples and data on rare plant and insect species believed to be unique to the valley.

Details on the full scope of what’s being collected will be released at a later date, which the scientists hope will be used to inform land use planning and decision making in the future.

“We’re really happy to hear this blitz is being conducted. We’re anxious to find out what some of the results will be,” said Andrea Morison of the Peace Valley Environment Association.

Another four scientists are arriving in Fort St. John today to join the blitz. Researchers from Tumbler Ridge will join other scientists expected throughout the summer for further field studies, said Cox.

The open house runs until 7:30 p.m. in Hudson’s Hope.