This week, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is holding a virtual event encouraging people to observe nature and learn more about habitats and species in their backyards and neighbourhoods.
NCC’s Big Backyard BioBlitz is part of the non-profit organization’s mandate to connect Canadians with nature.
By simply downloading the free iNaturalist app and then going out into their backyards and local green spaces to take photos, Canadians can make a meaningful contribution to conservation and our understanding of species and natural habitats.
Community science is more important now than ever as traditional forms of volunteering for nature and conservation are impacted by COVID-19. Data collected from backyards and greenspaces across the country can help inform knowledge about species, while contributing to a broader view of nature in Canada.
“Anyone can participate. It’s a great way for people of all ages to look at their surroundings differently and learn more about the plant and animal species close to home,” said Erica Thompson, senior national director of conservation engagement with Nature Conservancy of Canada.
“Spending time outdoors is beneficial for physical and mental well-being. This is a great way to connect with nature and fellow nature lovers, while contributing to community science.”
Here’s how it works: People need to register prior to the event or anytime during the bioblitz week at natureconservancy.ca/bioblitz. They will then receive a welcome package with instructions. Participants are to download the iNaturalist app (inaturalist.ca) to their smartphone or tablet, or sign up online and join the project in their province.
They can then head outside and observe plants, animals and insects, snap photos and upload the images, which will be reviewed by a global network of scientists. We urge people to practice physical distancing if other people are in the same area.
The bioblitz will also unfold virtually; the iNaturalist project page will feature observations from across the country, giving people the opportunity to learn about species found in other provinces. Photos shared to social media using the #NCCbioblitz hashtag will appear on NCC’s website, and some will be reposted on NCC’s social media channels.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.