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Community Science

Community helping to increase our collective knowledge of wildlife across the province.

Hendrie Valley Birding © John Hassell


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 and 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 like you 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 our conservation efforts.

Great blue herons building a nest © Missy Mandel

Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas

The Atlas is transitioning into a new era, with Ontario Nature wrapping-up the data collection phase of this project as of December 1, 2019. Now that we have discontinued our app and online form, 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. To learn more about the transition, read our blog.

Thank you to our atlas users who have contributed so many valuable sightings, we owe the success of this program to you!

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


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

“Community Science is an invaluable way to tap into the vast knowledge held by naturalists, and to gain insight into species on a both a micro and macro scale. The atlas not only captures this knowledge, but grows a community of people dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians in Ontario.”

– Jessica Ferguson, Ontario Nature Conservation Science Technician

Spotted Turtle © Joe Crowley

Get Involved

  • Backyard Surveys: Do you hear frogs calling in a nearby wetland or see salamanders and their vernal pool habitats in your woodlot? Learn how you can help track these species and their habitats throughout the province.
  • Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas: Contribute to this comprehensive guide to everything about breeding birds in the province.
  • Herps of Ontario iNaturalist group: Submit your sightings of snakes, turtles, salamanders, frogs and lizards.
James Paterson with a snapping turtle

Take Action

“75 percent of Ontario’s reptile species are considered at risk. Stay informed about key issues facing reptiles, along with other important conservation news, by subscribing to our atlas newsletter.” – Emma Horrigan

The Community Science Program is generously supported by:

Toronto Ornithological Club logo

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