Citizen Science

Citizen Science is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur or nonprofessional scientists (Wikipedia). There are many programs that engage the public in ecological monitoring. Schools, groups, families and individuals can take part.

“NatureWatch is a series of ecological monitoring programs that encourage you to become a citizen scientist. NatureWatch lets you learn about the environment while gathering the information scientists need to monitor and protect it. Data collected through NatureWatch is being used to add to our knowledge of the effects of climate change and other impacts on biodiversity.” Nature watch has 4 types of ecological monitoring: Frogwatch, Icewatch, Plantwatch and Wormwatch. The website explains why monitoring is important, teaches you how to identify species and shows you how to submit your findings into their database.

The Ontario Turtle Tallyis another program run in conjunction with Toronto Zoo:

Another annual monitoring event is the Great Backyard Bird Count. “The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent”.

Many cities, conservation areas and local naturalist groups run their own stewardship activities. Examples:

In my city I take part in the Kitchener Natural Areas Stewardship program. As last year, my daughter and I will be monitoring frogs in a local conservation area: