Big Nature. Big Data.
We’re helping organizations like the Nature Conservancy of Canada use communications technology to collect and interpret information about species and their habitats to boost conservation efforts. That big data is shining a bright light on the Canadian landscape and changing the way we connect to nature.
How to become a citizen scientist
Recently, tens of thousands of citizen scientist birders logged observations of migratory birds on eBird, tagging their posts with geolocation and timing data. This led to actual scientists flagging a concern that migratory birds are falling out of sync with the timing of their traditional food supplies; a finding that has implications on bird conservation.
With recent advances in technology, it’s easier than ever before for citizen scientists to share information about wildlife on their smartphone with apps such as eBird and iNaturalist.
Conservation organizations like the Nature Conservancy of Canada access that information to better understand the patterns and conservation needs of species across the country. This can lead to conservation actions that might ultimately improve the likelihood that migratory birds can succeed in their migration, even though the environment is changing.
Citizen science means that everyday non-scientists who are exploring nature can contribute to protecting and enriching our ecosystem by using technology and the power of observation.
How will you connect with nature?
Here are a few examples of how you can collect information that will help Nature Conservancy of Canada and other conservation groups:
- Share your bird and butterfly observations with eBird and eButterfly.
- Submit observations or join a project in iNaturalist.
- Provide observations of rare species to your provincial conservation data centre or atlas project.
- Be on the watch for invasive species and report your sightings through the Invasive Species Early Detection and Mapping System.
- Map NCC trails on EveryTrail or AllTrails.
- Share your images of NCC properties on Flickr, Instagram and other photo sharing sites.
Contributor, Dan Kraus, National Conservation Biologist, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)