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Community Science

Enhancing the collective knowledge of wildlife across Ontario.

Hendrie Valley Birding © John Hassell

About

Community science is a term used to describe public participation in science. The number and types of community science projects across the province continues to grow. It provides people of all ages and abilities with the opportunity to contribute to key nature conservation projects in their community.

Our Community Science Program relies on nature enthusiasts to help us better understand the wild species and wild spaces across the province.

Your observations of wild plants and animals help to identify and monitor populations, and track species distributions and spatial trends over time. This knowledge strengthens conservation.

Great blue herons building a nest © Missy Mandel

Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas

The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) is the most comprehensive source of information on Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians and provides guidance on where continued surveys are needed. You can pre-order a hard-copy of the publication.

The ORAA publication is the culmination of more than ten years of community science and would not be possible without the dedicated support of herpetologists, researchers and community scientists. While the ORAA is no longer collecting observations, we encourage you to continue submitting any future observations through the Herps of Ontario project on iNaturalist or directly to the Natural Heritage Information Centre for species at risk.

Blue-spotted salamander © Diana Troya

Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas

The goal of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas is to map the distribution and relative abundance of the approximately 300 species of breeding birds in the province.

A volunteer-based effort, the atlas uses a rigorous approach to determine the distributions and populations of bird species breeding in Ontario, and changes over time.

Bufflehead duck © Tim Zurowski

Impact

The data collected through our community science projects helps us answer important questions about wild species and their habitats.

“One of the most valuable ways to collect large amounts of data on plants and wildlife is through community science initiatives. Standardized protocols, like our long-term monitoring protocol for at-risk snakes, make it easy for community members to get involved and contribute to conservation efforts.”
– Teagan Netten, Ontario Nature Conservation Science Coordinator

Spotted turtle © Joe Crowley

Get Involved

James Paterson with a snapping turtle © James Paterson

Take Action

Over 240 species of plants and animals are considered at risk in Ontario. You can stay informed about key environmental issues and conservation news, by subscribing to Ontario Nature’s mailing list.

The Community Science Program is generously supported by:

ECCC informs Canadians about protecting and conserving our natural heritage, and ensuring a clean, safe and sustainable environment for present and future generations.

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