Learn more about Alberta’s Biodiversity, Species at Risk, Birds, Mammals, Fish, Amphibians and Reptiles, Plants, Fungi and Insects in the sections below:
Did you know Alberta has more than 20,000 species of plants and animals? The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute conducts world-class monitoring of more than 2,000 of these species and their habitats. Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) reviewed the status of 5,235 of Alberta’s plant and animal species in 2010. To find the general status of these species, see ESRD’s searchable database at Wild Species Status Search. For help in identifying species in Alberta, check out ESRD’s Wild Species pages.
Nature Alberta is a member of Alberta’s Endangered Species Conservation Committee. This committee reviews species at risk in Alberta, making recommendations to the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development on their listing and recovery. Nature Alberta is also a member of the Alberta Conservation Association which also works towards the management and recovery of several at risk and other wildlife species and their habitat throughout the province.
If you find injured or orphaned wildlife, what should you do? Alberta is fortunate to have a number of wildlife rescue organizations. You can find a list of these organizations, as well as a number of things you should know about injured or orphaned wildlife by checking out the Alberta Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association.
Nature Alberta is involved in many aspects of bird conservation in Alberta. For more about these activities, including the Important Bird Areas Program, visit our Bird Conservation page.
The first definitive guide to Alberta’s mammals was written by Dr. J. Dewey Soper, a federal wildlife officer, almost five decades ago (1964.) The Mammals of Alberta is no longer is print but a few hard copies can still be found through second-hand book stores. A more recent publication by Hugh C. Smith (1993), Alberta Mammals: an atlas and guide is also no longer available for sale but can likely be found in any Alberta library. Both of these publications can be viewed in Nature Alberta’s library.
In Alberta, the Department of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development is responsible for managing wildlife, including mammals, through administration of the Wildlife Act. For online information about some of the province’s mammals, see the department’s mammal webpage.
The Fishes of Alberta (Paetz and Nelson 1992), made available online by the University of Alberta Press, is a great place to start to learn about Alberta’s fish species. A Cool, Curving World by Dr. Richard B. Miller is another publication worth investigating. Hard copies of these publications can be found in libraries and in second-hand book shops.
The Alberta Native Plant Council promotes knowledge and conservation of the native plants and vegetation of Alberta. The Edmonton Naturalization Group is another great resource for learning about Alberta’s native plant species.
By reporting when certain plants bloom and leaf out in spring, Albertans contribute vital information for climate change studies. Learn more about how to get involved in the Alberta Plantwatch Program.
Ever notice how many different types of mushrooms there are in Alberta? The Alberta Mycological Society is a very active club that studies mushrooms and other fungi in the province.
If you are a K-6 teacher, download “The Fungus Files” – An Educator’s Guide to Fungi by Terra Brie Stewart Koval. This resource is currently being updated (May 2014), an updated version will be posted soon!
With more than 20,000 species, insects are a huge field of study in Alberta. A place to start might be with the moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) of the province. The Alberta Lepidopterists’ Guild a non-profit society made up of amateur and professional lepidopterists who coordinate research projects, facilitate the exchange of information among members, and host events where people can collect and look at Lepidoptera and exchange information and ideas. There are also many book resources on Lepidoptera and other insects. See the Nature Alberta Store to purchase a copy of Alberta Butterflies. See also The Bugs of Alberta by John Acorn (available through Lone Pine Publishing).
In 1970, six natural history clubs joined together to form the Federation of Alberta Naturalists. Today, this same organization, known as Nature Alberta serves a membership of over 40 clubs and represents thousands of individuals across the province. Every one of these individuals share a passion for natural history.
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