Citizen Science in BC Parks

CVN members may be interested in the following information that we received from Kelly Fretwell of the BC Parks Foundation. The text has been lightly edited for use on the website.

If you’re receiving this email I’ve likely contacted you previously about getting your outdoors/naturalist group involved with the BC Parks iNaturalist Project, a citizen science initiative of BC Parks, the BC Parks Foundation, the University of Victoria, and Simon Fraser University to collect nature observations using the free app and website iNaturalist. If this is new to you, you can find more information on the project at

I’m writing with a couple of project updates, a few resources to get started with iNaturalist and the BC Parks Project, and tips for staying involved and busy with iNaturalist and the BC Parks project during this current time of social/physical distancing. I’m also introducing Emma Griggs, who is taking over from me for the BC Parks Foundation’s citizen science projects as I move into a new science communications role with the Hakai Institute. Emma will be the BCPF contact for citizen science engagement going forward.

The BC Parks iNaturalist Project: 2020

We had big plans to expand the project this year and connect in-person with as many community groups across the province as we could, but those plans have of course been impacted by the pandemic in a number of ways, not least of which is the necessary closures of BC Parks trails and facilities.

In these difficult times I’m sure we would all like to lean on our shared love for the outdoors and nature, however doing so while maintaining the physical distancing needed to flatten the curve may not be possible, especially in the more densely populated areas of the province. With that in mind, here are some ideas to remain connected with nature and the BC Parks iNaturalist Project during the pandemic by becoming an “Armchair Naturalist”:

  • Check out the BC Parks iNaturalist Project page to browse all the observations that have been made so far in the different parks. Send us any crazy cool ones you come across!
  • Browse through the BC Parks observations and help identify observations of your favourite species groups.
  • Do you have old nature photos languishing on your hard drive, unseen by anyone but you? Upload those to iNaturalist!
  • Download the BC Parks Foundation’s themed PARKS bingo cards and scour your photo library for matching observations.
  • If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard or live in a more remote place where it’s easy and safe to get out into nature while maintaining the necessary 2m/6ft distance from others, go test out your new iNaturalist skills to be ready for when parks re-open.

New to iNaturalist? Resources to get started

And finally, subscribe to the BC Parks Foundation’s newsletter to stay up-to-date with any news or changes regarding this project and other BCPF work.

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