(Ottawa) July 15, 2015 – iNaturalist Canada, the new Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) and Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) app is already generating great results. During a two week lead up to Canada Day, Canadians were challenged to sign up and tally as many species as they could. People responded with over 1500 observations during that time period, including a Bald Eagle on Vancouver Island, a large Moose in the backcountry of Algonquin Park and a beautiful Luna Moth on the coast of New Brunswick.
iNaturalist Canada is a virtual place where Canadians can record and share what they see in nature, meet other nature watchers, and learn about Canada’s wildlife. By participating as citizen scientists, the public can contribute to a growing wealth of knowledge of Canadian species and help conserve our natural world. The benefit of the vast online community of knowledgeable people on iNaturalist Canada is that there is always someone on the site able to help with identifying observations. Once verified, the observation can be vetted through appropriate channels like NatureServe Canada to make its way to decision makers to benefit conservation.
Using a smartphone, users can use the app (available on iTunes or Google Play) to take a photo, along with a GPS coordinate and upload it to the online database, contributing to baseline information of Canada’s wildlife. The app will recognize the language of the user’s phone and is offered in both official languages. Even without a data plan, users can sync their observations once back in range of a Wi-Fi connection. Users without a smart phone can submit their observations on the internet using iNaturalist.ca.
BioBlitzes are great activities to join for iNaturalist Canada users! These events are volunteer-based biological inventory of a given area. iNaturalist Canada was launched at the Don River Watershed BioBlitz, as part of the Ontario BioBlitz program, which on its own catalogued over 1200 species, including the threatened Spiny Softshell and Blanding’s Turtles and two new species of spiders in Canada. Canadians can join one of the BioBlitzes organized by CWF and Parks Canada held across Canada or one of the events taking place as part of the Ontario BioBlitz Program. For more information, visit CWF Bioblitz and OntarioBioblitz.ca.
About the Canadian Wildlife Federation
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, sponsoring research, developing and delivering education programs, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending changes to policy and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.
About the Royal Ontario Museum
Opened in 1914, Canada’s largest museum of natural history and world cultures has six million objects in its collections and galleries showcasing art, archaeology and natural science. The ROM is the largest field research institution in the country, and a world leader in research areas from biodiversity, palaeontology, and earth sciences to archaeology, ethnology and visual culture - originating new information towards a global understanding of historical and modern change in culture and environment. For 24-hour information in English and French, please call 416.586.8000 or visit www.rom.on.ca. Tickets are available online at www.rom.on.ca.
About iNaturalist Canada
iNaturalist Canada is run by the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in collaboration with iNaturalist.org and the California Academy of Sciences. Parks Canada, NatureServe Canada and CWF’s Hinterland Who's Who have been key partners in the development of iNaturalist Canada and will continue to play a role in the program.
Director of Communications
Canadian Wildlife Federation
Species at Risk and Biodiversity Specialist
Canadian Wildlife Federation
(613)599-9594 ext. 242