The term citizen science is often used to describe communities or networks of citizens who act as observers in some domain of science. Citizen science has long been recognized as a legitimate means of collecting scientific data. Citizen science can also be used to entice more Albertans to get engaged in a greater appreciation of our natural resources. There are a number of national and provincial citizen science programs that Albertans can contribute sightings and other natural history information to. Though not exhaustive, we have compiled a list of some of these programs in the following report: Promoting Citizen Science in Alberta
All Albertans, whether they are urban-dwellers, youth, new-comers, or experienced hunters and anglers, can increase their appreciation and how they value Alberta’s natural environment by contributing to citizen science programs. Check out these fun citizen science programs:
Since 1976, Nature Alberta has promoted the annual May Species Count. This count, which usually occurs towards the end of May/early June includes counts of flowering plants, birds, and sometimes mammals. Plant observations from this program now total more than 35,000 records which have been shared with the PlantWatch program as well as other plant researchers and enthusiasts.
May Bird Count Archives:
Since the initiation of its first May Species Count, and throughout the production of two breeding bird atlases, Nature Alberta has been compiling a database of bird sightings that includes more than 200,000 observations. All of our bird data is now being shared with Bird Studies Canada. Bird monitoring data can be queried and downloaded from the Bird Studies Canada Nature Counts website.
In 1970, six natural history clubs joined together to form the Federation of Alberta Naturalists. Today, this same organization, now known as Nature Alberta serves a membership of over 40 clubs and represents thousands of individuals across the province. These individuals share a passion for natural history.
Natural history is the study of plants or animals, using observational rather than experimental methods.
Alberta is fortunate to have a wide diversity of wildlife and wild spaces. All native plants and animals have a right to co-exist with Albertans, who in turn benefit by having access to a healthy, natural environment. Increasing our understanding of nature will lead to increased enjoyment of it.
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