Canadian Wildlife Federation and ROM Biodiversity launch new App iNaturalist Canada that connects all Canadians to our shared natural heritage
(Toronto, Ontario – June 13, 2015) – The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), along with the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Ontario Nature, the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, Toronto and Region Conservation, the Toronto Zoo and others, present the 2015 Ontario BioBlitz: The Don River Watershed this weekend. The event, Canada’s largest outdoor biodiversity survey, takes place across 15 sites in the Don River Watershed where biologists and the general public, or “citizen scientists” cataloguing Ontario wildlife and biodiversity over 24 hours.
The opening ceremonies and “BioBlitz Headquarters” for the 2015 flagship event is located at the Ontario Science Centre, where registered intensive bioblitzers can stay overnight inside the building. Additional Don River Watershed BioBlitz sites in Toronto include Taylor-Massey Creek Park, Sunnybrook Park, Tommy Thompson Park, as well as Baker’s Woods, the MacMillan Reserve (a Nature Conservancy of Canada property) and Nevada Park in York Region. A list of locations is available at: http://www.ontariobioblitz.ca/2015-don-river-watershed.html.
About the 2015 Ontario BioBlitz Program
The Ontario BioBlitz Program is a partnership driven project that unites and supports a series of community events across Ontario to inventory wildlife and to showcase the incredible diversity of life in our own backyards. The flagship event in Toronto has more than 600 participants registered, including over 225 of Ontario’s biologists and skilled naturalists. Today’s event includes both an intensive scientific survey of the Don River Watershed, as well as expert lead “Guided Blitzes”, bike tours, identification clinics, workshops, and more for naturalists of all ages. A complete list of public programs can be found here: http://www.ontariobioblitz.ca/2015-bioblitz-activities.html
“The ROM is proud to work with such amazing partners to provide a weekend full of hands-on activities that inspire and educate the public about the importance of the environment and conservation,” said Dave Ireland, Managing Director, ROM Biodiversity. “For those not able to attend the Don River BioBlitz, there are dozens of other community-led Blitzes across the province, and we’re so pleased to offer the new iNaturalist Canada App which will allow everyone to get involved in this growing citizen science movement.”
iNaturalist Canada App
The new iNaturalist Canada mobile app for Android and Apple platforms launched today to allow users to contribute to a growing wealth of knowledge of Canadian species and help conserve our natural world. Canadians can connect with a community that cares about nature, record their wildlife observations along with photos which can be aggregated and verified by NatureServe Canada and other experts. Available in English and French, iNaturalist Canada can also be accessed online at www.inaturalist.ca. iNaturalist Canada is run by the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) and ROM Biodiversity, along with the California Academy of Sciences, Parks Canada, and Hinterland Who's Who.
Don Watershed Guided Bioblitz Sessions and Public Programs
There are a total of 33 Guided BioBlitz sessions at four different locations including the Evergreen Brick Works. This includes an Amphibian & Reptile Guided Blitz at ET Seton Park in Toronto directly following the opening ceremonies at 1:00 pm. Participants in this popular session locate, identify, and record sightings of frogs, snakes, turtles, and salamanders, a group that comprises a high proportion of animals found on the list of Species At Risk in Ontario. Other sessions include an evening Bat Guided Blitz at Bakers Woods, and bird sessions at Tommy Thompson Park. Public programs and drop-in activities, including live animal presentations and nature walks are offered at the Ontario Science Centre and Evergreen Brick Works. These programs include live animal presentations, family-focused activities, nature walks, a bike hike, and more.
About the ROM
Opened in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum is 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 the ROM’s web site at www.rom.on.ca. Tickets are available online at www.rom.on.ca.
About Participating Partners
About the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) at the University of Guelph is transforming understanding of the diversity and distribution of species to aid an evidence-based conservation agenda for our planet. Empowered by a globally unique capability for DNA sequencing, informatics, and collections, BIO is illuminating the species found across our nation. It also leads the International Barcode of Life project, the largest research program ever undertaken in biodiversity science.
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 www.CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.
About the City of Toronto
Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most liveable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @torontocomms.
About the Environmental Visual Communication Program
The Environmental Visual communication (EVC) program is a graduate certificate program co-offered by Fleming College and the Royal Ontario Museum. With a focus on strategic messaging and technical savvy, students learn to use photography, videography, multimedia, and design principles to bridge environmental competencies with thoughtful communication through diverse media channels. www.eviscomm.ca
About the Evergreen Brickworks
Evergreen is a national not-for-profit that inspires action to green cities. By deepening the connection between people and nature, and empowering Canadians to take a hands-on approach to their urban environments, Evergreen is improving the health of our cities—now and for the future. www.evergreen.ca
About the Nature Conservancy of Canada
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares), coast to coast. NCC received an "A+" grade on MoneySense's 2013 rating of the 100 largest charities in Canada—the highest ranking of all Canadian environmental charities and placing us in Canada's top four most efficient charities. To learn more about our projects and help support our work, please visit our website: www.natureconservancy.ca/on.
About Ontario Nature
Ontario Nature protects and restores nature through research, education and conservation action. Ontario Nature champions woodlands, wetlands and wildlife, and preserves essential habitat through its own system of nature reserves. It is a charitable organization representing 25,000 members and over 140 member groups across the province, connecting individuals and communities to nature. For more information: www.ontarionature.org.
About the Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre delights, informs and challenges our communities, offering hands-on experiences and engagement with science of local, national and global relevance. The Science Centre has welcomed more than 49 million visitors since it opened in 1969, implementing an interactive approach adapted by science centres around the world. The Science Centre is the public centre for innovative thinking and the prime venue for public dialogue about science, technology and society. As a publicly assisted organization, the Science Centre relies on generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share a commitment to science and education for additional operating support. www.ontariosciencecentre.ca
About Toronto and Region Conservation
With 60 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity. For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at www.trca.on.ca
About the Toronto Zoo
In 2014 the Toronto Zoo is celebrating 40 Years of saving and protecting wildlife and their habitats at home and abroad. More than a tourist attraction, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except December 25 and attracts approximately 1.3 million visitors each year. www.torontozoo.com
Wendy Vincent, ROM Publicist
Like: ROM Facebook Ontario BioBlitz Facebook
Follow: @ROMToronto @ROMBiodiversity @davehireland @ontariobioblitz
ROM Instagram ROM Google+ and official hashtag for global Bioblitz events: #BioBlitz2015
Watch: ROM YouTube