Tell Us What You See!
Have you recently visited one of our nature reserves and observed something interesting? At the right place and the right time you might see a monarch pupating, catch a glimpse of spring beauty flowering, chicks being cared for, or turtles nesting. Whatever you have seen, we want to hear about it!
Our nature reserves hold a number of habitats for a diversity of species including old growth forests, wetlands, Carolinian woodlands, savanna and meadow. Whether you are a novice, a seasoned naturalist or somewhere in-between, we want you to help us keep track of the biodiversity at our nature reserves.
Biodiversity Reporting on LPBLT Properties
Long Point Basin Land Trust is continually collecting data on what lives and grows on each of our properties. It is important to keep track of this to ensure certain species that may be invasive are taken care of, or if a species at risk is found we can make sure to protect it. There are many different ways that we can collect data but the best way is through “citizen science”. Citizen science is a way that organizations can collect data through members of the public on a voluntary basis.
Benefits of Using Citizen Science (public data collection methods)
There are many benefits of using citizen science for data collection. Participants in this activity continue to learn about what they observe and collect, creating an awareness of issues we are facing with the environment today. Helping collect data while walking through our properties is a great opportunity to learn about the incredible biodiversity that surrounds you (and it boosts your mood too!). It helps LPBLT build our database and create property-specific stewardship plans as well as building regional or provincial data records. This helps researchers in providing vital information to law makers or government officials to better protect and conserve important habitats.
How to Collect Data
There are many different ways to collect data nowadays with technology so readily available. Mobile devices have expanded the ability to record everything we see and can actually help create more concise data retrieval. A popular and favourite app is iNaturalist which is used by a large community of nature enthusiasts, scientists, and naturalists. You can collect and share data, all the while learning about what you observe.
iNat is an excellent app to use while walking through LPBLT properties. In the app, you can click on the “Observe” button and snap or upload a picture/video of your specimen. Once you’ve uploaded your photo or video you enter the details of what you think you’ve found. Enter your suggested identification and other data that you may know, allowing your mobile device to find your location, and hit “submit”. You can see all the observations you’ve submitted and you can edit them if need be.
All your observations on LPBLT properties can be accessed by LPBLT staff. We use this information to help build species lists and expand our database. The more information we can collect helps us determine future stewardship actions for each specific property.
Other apps for data collection and verification
The Ontario Reptile and Amphibians Atlas app is a quick and easy tool to help identify and submit important data on Ontario’s declining reptile and amphibian populations. The app has easy-to-use features such as field guides that include each reptile or amphibian species found in Ontario, their range maps, pictures, and key identification characteristics. You can also submit your sightings in different ways, making it quick and easy to send in your data.
The Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS) app is another excellent tool that many different people use to detect and map invasive species. Documenting the presence of invasive species is very important and helps to facilitate Early Detection and Rapid Response programs (EDRR). Users simply enter information from their observations into the standardized on-line data form, which allows specific information about the infestation and images to be added. Data entered is immediately loaded to the Website, allowing real time tracking of species. All data is reviewed by state verifiers to ensure all data is accurate. The data is made freely available to scientists, researchers, land managers, land owners, educators, conservationists, ecologists, farmers, foresters, state and national parks.