With COVID-19 social distancing measures impacting scientific surveys and field research, the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is asking Canadians to help them collect critical data on the impacts of isolation on the environment.
“We are counting on Canadians now more than ever to share their nature photos and record their wildlife observations on iNaturalist.ca,” said James Pagé, CWF species at risk and biodiversity specialist. “This information is critical to understand some of the impacts of the quarantine on the wildlife. It’s also an opportunity to showcase how much nature matters to Canadians.”
CWF launched its Observations From Isolation project on iNaturalist.ca in April, generating more than 23,000 submissions the first wave of the pandemic. With Canadian Environment Day celebrated June 5, followed by Rivers to Oceans Week, the immediate goal is to achieve 50,000 observations by Canada Day.
The long-term goal is to inspire conservation through the new CWF Observation Nation project.
“Canadians of all ages and abilities can help by posting photos or sound recordings of any wild plants or animals. The automatic identification feature can help you figure out what species you’ve seen, and scientists can help verify observations virtually,” Pagé said. “This is especially important in 2020 since some research teams may have to limit their travel and rely more the public data.”
The iNaturalist app and website are free and easy to use whether observing nature safely in your backyard, local park or further afield. Overall, there are 2.4 million observations of 23,000 species in the Canadian database, which was created in 2015.
CWF thanks all Canadians who have contributed to the project to date.
To learn more and get involved visit iNaturalist.ca.
Submitted by Canadian Wildlife Federation.