Citizen science projects are a great way to get involved in nature and conservation.
There are a large variety of projects that you can join and add your observations to the knowledge base about species and their habitats. The information collected in these projects helps various conservation oriented agencies and organizations to gather valuable data. This data can assist in learning more about the distribution of species, changes in distribution and habitat, habitat use and animal behaviour.
Not only do you get the opportunity to add to knowledge about our environment, but you get to have fun doing it! Most citizen science projects let you set up a profile so that you can join and share with others having your same interest in nature. They often also allow you to track your own observations and choose how you share them.
In this post we are featuring a new project on the www.inaturalist.org site. The Ontario Fish project has been set up to increase our knowledge of the distribution of fish species in the Province of Ontario. While there is a body of data on fish species distribution in Ontario, climate change, development and other factors affect the distribution of fish species over time. The more information that is available about fish species, the more we will know about an important element of the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems.
There is also a guide to Ontario’s fish species (Ontario Fish Guide) on the inaturalist site to help you identify fish as well as learn more about them.
To participate in this project you need to sign up at www.inaturalist.org. Joining is free and there are apps for iPhones,Ipads, and Android devices. By joining intauralist you will get access to a wide variety of resources. As well as participating in this project you can participate in others; keep track of your own nature observations no matter where you are; learn more about wildlife of all sorts; and explore different places across the world.
Once you join, you can add Ontario Fish to your list of projects and help build the data base on the fish species of Ontario!
Remember, your data is important! Please try to be accurate in observations so that the data is as reliable is possible. When observing species at risk please ensure that you either submit the data directly to a project, avoiding publicly posting the details, or use the tools on the site to generalize your observation location in a public posting.