This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) at Ontario Nature. The ORAA has been a successful and influential citizen science project engaging thousands of participants across the province over the past decade.
During this time, we have collected over 400,000 expert-vetted observations. These observations have impacted policy decisions and on-the-ground conservation across Ontario. Equally as important, this project has expanded the awareness of herpetofauna in Ontario. But the time has come for the ORAA to transition into a new phase.
What does this mean?
This will be our last year of data collection. Ontario Nature will be wrapping-up the data collection phase of this project as of December 1, 2019. As a result, the ORAA app will no longer be active as of approximately August 15, 2019.
Just because our app and online forms will no longer be available, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to observe and submit your sightings of reptiles and amphibians. We encourage you to continue submitting your observations through other channels after August 1, 2019. Here are some of your options:
If you would like to send any unsubmitted data to the ORAA, you can do so between August 1st and December 1st. Please submit a spreadsheet to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iNaturalist – This Canada-wide citizen science program is a community-based tool. Your observations will be vetted by researchers, experts and other citizen scientists.
Download the app and submit your sightings to the ‘Herps of Ontario’ project by clicking the ‘add observations button’ on the project home page.
Fill out the form specifying details of your observation:
Species observed (you can select ‘unknown’)
Media (photo or audio recording)
Date and time of observation
Description of individual and location
Number of individuals
3. Natural Heritage Information Centre – Submit your species at risk observations to the ‘NHIC’ project on iNaturalist by clicking the ‘add observations button’ on the project home page. If you prefer to compile your records in a spreadsheet, email it to the Natural Heritage Information Centre (email@example.com).
We owe the success of this program to our atlas users who have contributed so many valuable sightings from across the province. Thank you on behalf of the Atlas Team and Ontario Nature for your contributions to the ORAA.
Smera Sukumar is the Nature Reserves Manager for Ontario Nature working with both the Citizen Science and Nature Reserves programs. She is an avid traveller, having travelled to a total of 38 countries world-wide.