Citizen Science

Citizen science entails sharing and summarizing observations made by amateur naturalists. Having many “eyes and ears” studying nature helps advance our understanding of species distributions and trends, supporting their conservation. For example, the best information available on long-term changes in bird populations comes from the Breeding Bird Survey, which is entirely based on contributions from amateur birders. Taking part in citizen science programs is also a great way to get out and experience nature.

New smartphone apps make it easy for everyone to participate and, consequently, there has been tremendous growth in the citizen science community over the past few years. On eBird alone, there have been over 80 million checklists submitted to date, recording more than one billion bird observations.

If you are new to citizen science, be sure to look through our Getting Started materials, below. Here you will find a general introduction to citizen science as well as tutorials for eBird and iNaturalist, the two largest projects. Once you’ve become oriented you can look for a project that aligns with your interests and get involved. We’ve organized the available projects into taxonomic groups — there is something here for everyone.

Getting Started

Bird Projects

Mammal Projects

Amphibian & Reptile Projects

Insect Projects

Plant & Fungi Projects

Biodiversity Projects

Aquatic Projects

Citizen Science News

Black-capped Chickadee by Gerald Romanchuk

Great Backyard Bird Count

Feb 18 – 21

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The Battle River Watershed Alliance collecting samples at Battle Lake, 2021.

Winter LakeKeepers

Volunteer with the Alberta Lake Management Society as a Winter LakeKeeper to monitor lakes for parameters important for understanding lake ecology and health in the winter. This volunteer role is well suited for ice fishers!

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The Battle River Watershed Alliance collecting samples at Battle Lake, 2021.

Winter LakeKeepers Information Session

Recording Now Available
Alberta Lake Management Society

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Using iNaturalist on a smartphone to identify a plant
Using iNaturalist by Matt Wallace

The Rise of Citizen Scientists


Today, nearly everyone is equipped with the tools to make citizen science observations — even if they do not know a thing about plants or animals! Apps such as iNaturalist use artificial intelligence to help users immediately identify the subjects of photos taken with their smartphone cameras.

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Big brown bat

Bat House Monitoring at Ellis Bird Farm


Bats are fascinating creatures, playing a critical role in supporting biodiversity.

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