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July 25th 2022

The Gault Nature Reserve is using iNaturalist!

What is iNaturalist?

iNaturalist is an online social network for naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists to map and share their biodiversity observations with the World. Anyone, young and old, experienced and new, can contribute to science by making nature observations wherever they go. You can add to a rich library of flora and fauna simply by uploading pictures or sound recordings of the different species that you find.

How does it work?

Take a picture of any plant, animal or fungus you see in nature. Then, open the iNaturalist mobile application or website and upload the photo as a “New Observation”. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the application will offer suggestions to help you identify the species. Other community members will be able to see and help confirm your identification!

Your photo or sound recordings can even become “Research Grade”, which means that scientists can use your observations in their work. For this, the observation must have geographic coordinates, and at least two people must agree on the identification. If location services on your phone are enabled, the app can automatically detect your photo’s coordinates when uploaded, making it even easier to contribute to science.

Why is the Gault Nature Reserve using iNaturalist?

Staff members and scientists studying at the Reserve can use this wealth of iNaturalist data to learn more about the locations of plants and animals on the mountain. In the future, your helpful contributions can be used, for example, to log and map sightings of invasive plants, so that our team can find them and remove them efficiently.

How can you participate?

This month we are participating in the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Big Backyard BioBlitz. Participants of this 5-day event track as many species as possible using iNaturalist all around Canada. If you are out on the trails between July 28th and August 1st, we encourage you to take some photos and contribute to this citizen science effort.

The next time you visit Gault, bring your phone, tablet or camera and take some pictures of all the cool plants and animals that you see! Whether as part of the Big Backyard BioBlitz or any day, your observations will help scientists at the Reserve and beyond!

Just remember to stay on the trail to preserve the integrity of the fauna and flora at the Reserve.

Getting started

Header: Photo by Alex Tran)

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