Learn about the BC Parks iNaturalist Project

Comox Valley Nature is pleased to host the following free online lecture:

Title: Using iNaturalist to document biodiversity patterns in BC Parks
Speakers: Dr. Brian Starzomski and Kate McKeown
Date: Sunday, January 16, 2022
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST

This webinar is facilitated by the Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists and is open to the public (see the registration link below).

In Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park (photo by Jason Headley)

iNaturalist is a biodiversity database and social media platform. It has revolutionized community science by making it easy and fun for anyone to contribute to the collection of biodiversity data, any time they’re out enjoying nature. A dedicated community of identifiers helps to refine the accuracy of the species IDs.

iNaturalist is a wonderful addition to biodiversity inventory in British Columbia where the species diversity is greater than anywhere else in Canada. BC is vast, and traditional data collection methods alone cannot survey all corners of the province. To fill in some of these gaps and provide opportunities for anyone to collect biodiversity observations and hone their natural history skills, Dr. Brian Starzomski (UVic) and Dr. John Reynolds (SFU) teamed up with BC Parks and the BC Parks Foundation to create the BC Parks iNaturalist Project. BC Parks iNaturalist data are fast becoming a large and valuable source of biodiversity information in BC, and it is all due to the great work of more than 6,000 keen citizen scientists.

To date, the BC Parks iNaturalist dataset consists of almost 500,000 observations and more than 9100 species! The dataset keeps growing, and observations are routinely used in threatened and endangered species assessments by the federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

So far, the top three parks for observations are Strathcona Provincial Park, South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area, and E. C. Manning Provincial Park. All 1035 BC provincial protected areas (including parks, conservancies, and ecological reserves) are listed in the BC Parks iNaturalist project, but 400 have fewer than 10 observations: there is much more work to do!

This is an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about the value of iNaturalist and citizen science for describing patterns of biodiversity in BC Parks.

About the speakers

Brian Starzomski is the Ian McTaggart Cowan Professor and Director in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. He loves to work in a variety of systems to study biodiversity questions, and is broadly trained as a community ecologist and conservation biologist. His research focuses on biodiversity structure and dynamics, and seeks to link theory and empirical approaches. Brian works across the taxonomic spectrum, from insects to plants to birds. He encourages nature lovers to add biodiversity observations to iNaturalist.ca.

Kate McKeown joined the BC Parks iNaturalist Project shortly after graduating with a BSc in Forest Biology from the University of Victoria. Starting on the field team in May 2020, she has since become the project manager. Some of her BC Parks project highlights include finding a brown wasp mantidfly in Skihist Ecological Reserve, photographing Arctic terns in Boya Lake Provincial Park, and seeing peoples’ faces light up when they learn that their passion for wildlife photography can also generate valuable biodiversity data!


“Seating capacity” for the talk is limited, and you will need to register in advance. You can check the computer requirements for attendees here.

Register here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the webinar.

If you are new to Comox Valley Nature, find out more about us here.

Although CVN lectures are free, donations of any size from non-members who attend are always appreciated ($4.00 is suggested).

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