Bioblitz Canada 150 - Results of Canada's "Nature Selfie" (Canada)
The seven #NatureForAll strategies offer solutions to a worldwide problem of disconnection from nature. They have been developed based on recommendations received from the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress and the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, and advice from #NatureForAll partners worldwide. They will continue to evolve over time. Not every strategy may be applicable in every situation, so our partners choose the one(s) that work best in their local context.
To mark Canada’s 150th Anniversary, the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF), in conjunction with BioBlitz Canada and other partners in conservation, hosted BioBlitz Canada 150, one of 38 Canada 150 Signature Projects that included 35 events from sea to sea to sea. Our goal was to bring together the Canadian public with scientists to explore the richness of Canada’s biodiversity and to engage our passion to know, celebrate and conserve our natural heritage. The primary challenge was organizing the logistics of hosting 35 bioblitz events, which included the following: five flagship events in urban areas including Vancouver, Regina, Toronto, Quebec and Halifax, along with 20 community-scale events and 10 science-intense blitzes. Our objective was to document the species discovered from sea to sea to sea to create Canada’s “nature selfie”. Through this project new scientific data was generated and new species were documented which will help to inform choices on such issues such as climate change and loss of biodiversity. These discoveries are now being showcased to the Canadian public, wildlife managers, conservation organizations, educational institutions and government agencies to potentially help shape conservation decisions and ensure these wild species and spaces remain for generations to come.
What strategies contributed to Bioblitz Canada 150's success?
Strategy 2: Find and Share the Fun in Nature
Bioblitz Canada 150 events provided a unique opportunity for Canadians of all ages to engage in a fun, recreational outdoor conservation activity that actively contributed to real science. A bioblitz encouraged people to seek out and inventory wildlife species across all natural habitats, from ocean depths to treetops in the boreal forest. It was an amazing opportunity to connect with nature on a very intimate level, with participants often on hands and knees in the forest looking under brush, rocks and fallen trees in search of species. Nearly 10,000 Canadians participated across the country.
Strategy 4: Embrace Technology
The Bioblitz Canada150 project embraced mobile technology in a big way. All data from events was collected using the iNaturalist Canada app, a free platform available for download at iNaturalist.ca. Participants in Bioblitz Canada 150 events were encouraged to download the app on their mobile device or PC, then to upload any pictures of wildlife they snapped during the bioblitz they were attending. That data contributes to a national database that scientists across the world use to determine the health of regional biodiversity in multiple countries. The wonderful things is that even though Bioblitz Canada 150 is over, people can continue to be good “citizen scientists” by continuing to use the iNaturalist app to track biodiversity wherever they are. It’s like Pokémon Go with a scientific purpose.
Strategy 6: Seek out Diverse Partnerships
The coalition of partners that comprised the Bioblitz Canada 150 committee brought a diverse perspective to the project. As the organization tasked with overseeing the fulfillment of the bioblitz initiative, the Canadian Wildlife Federation relied on a variety of partner organizations across the country, from science groups to wildlife societies to groups of grassroots volunteers who helped ensure each of the 35 bioblitz events had enough people power. The greatest partnership of all, however, was with the nearly 10,000 Canadians of all ages who became active participants in a national science-based conservation activity. People always ask “what can I do to help wildlife in Canada?” Those involved in Bioblitz Canada 150 events quickly learned how easy it is to make a significant impact for conservation.
- 9,935 people took part in the 35 BioBlitz Canada 150 events
- 1,020 species experts shared their knowledge and passion
- 1,096 different observers uploaded observations via iNaturalist.ca
- 16,600 hours of volunteer hours were donated
SPECIES BY THE NUMBER:
- 7,510 species were catalogued including:
2,631 species of vascular plants
2,629 species of insects
604 species of fungi and lichens
370 species of birds
297 species of arachnids
255 species of molluscs
151 species of fish
99 species of mammals
73 species of protozoa
42 species of reptiles
34 species of amphibians
- 39,759 species observations were made on iNaturalist. This total includes 556 species at risk encompassing 87 species (COSEWIC assessed or SARA listed), among which:
Western Painted Turtle
Yellow-banded Bumble Bee
ACROSS THE COUNTRY:
- Most northern species recorded: Beluga Whale, 69.58°N (Tuktoyaktuk NWT Community satellite BioBlitz)
- Most southern species recorded: Dickcissel, 42.57°N (Norfolk Forest Science-Intensive BioBlitz)
- Most western species recorded: Kluane Tiger Moth, Arctia brachyptera, 138.78 W61°W (Kluane Science-Intensive BioBlitz)
- Most eastern species recorded: Green Alder, 52.76W (St. John’s Community BioBlitz)
- The four most commonly observed of all species were plants that have been introduced to Canada (non-native): Common Ivy, Creeping Buttercup, American Blackberry and European Holly. Ranging from 280 to nearly 500 observations of each
- The top 5 native species observed are all birds: Black-capped Chickadee, American Robin, Canada Goose, Song Sparrow and Red-eyed Vireo
- The most observed species at risk was the Monarch, reported 72 times across Canada
The thing to remember about Bioblitz Canada 150 is that, although the project itself is over, the opportunity to bioblitz continues. There are endless resources available at bioblitzcanada.ca you can access to help plan and organize your own bioblitz and contribute to science. You can also actively participate wherever you are, individually or with family. You can turn a walk through the woods into a “citizen science” activity, utilizing your iNaturalist app to inventory any species you find on your path. It’s an ongoing science-based conservation activity in which anyone can participate. If you’re part of an organization that is considering hosting a bioblitz, planning is the critical element; ensuring you have access to the taxonomic experts you require to help, your bioblitz can take on whatever form you like. Host it day or night, on land or along the water.