2021 Bioblitz Talks

The 2021 BioBlitz will be taking place in two parts, one part focused on education in June and the other focused on data collection in July. 

The Whistler Naturalists, in partnership with AWARE, are excited to host Dr. Rachel Holt and Bob Brett to speak about old growth forests for this year’s BioBlitz Talks.

Rachel will present “A Provincial Overview of BC’s Old Growth Forests: What is all the fuss about, and what happens now?”

Old forest matters; not only for its inherent qualities and cultural values, but also because old forest retention is the Province’s principle strategy to maintain biodiversity. Last year, a report by Price, Holt and Daust entitled BC’s Old Growth Forests: A Last Stand for Biodiversity highlighted the very poor condition of productive old forest in BC, and recommended key actions to prevent matters from getting worse. At the same time, an independent panel (The Strategic Old Growth Panel) wrote a report for the Minister of Forests outlining the poor condition and mis-management of old forests in the province, and they provided 14 recommendations for change. Currently, First Nation and public concerns are rising as a year has passed and nothing of substance has changed. This talk by Rachel Holt will bring together the findings from these reports and provide an overview of what issues are relevant to the future of old forest in BC.

Bob Brett will provide the local context about the state of old growth forests in Whistler.


Rachel Holt, Ph.D., R.P.Bio. is an ecologist, trained in the science of conservation biology and land management, and spends her days working to apply science in the land and resource management context. Her areas of expertise include technical analysis of environmental conditions and trends, working with technical and negotiation teams to solve large and small scale conservation challenges, presenting and explaining complex issues to technical and lay audiences, and scientific development of management frameworks. She has been a member of multiple versions of provincial government Old Growth Working Groups and cumulative effects teams over the last 20 plus years. She has also been a member and Vice Chair of the Forest Practices Board. Rachel lives in Nelson with her lovely family, dog and too many chickens.

Bob Brett is a local forest ecologist and professional biologist who has studied old forests for almost three decades. Tree cores he analyzed from over 1,000 trees showed that almost all uncut forests in Whistler are over 300 years old, with some 1,000 years and even older (published by AWARE as the Old Tree Map). He also studies Northern Goshawks, a raptor that requires old forest habitats and which is threatened by logging in Whistler. His report on local Northern Goshawks is available on the AWARE website.

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