Citizen Science is a phrase that has commonly been used to describe science that is conducted by ‘non-scientists’ in a community. However, the phrase Community Science is now being used to describe these activities, as it is not only citizens who conduct this important work!
You may be wondering… why should I get involved in community science? Well, there are several benefits to you and your community!
Here are a few other safety reminders for exploring outdoors:
Before getting out in nature it is important to remember these guidelines:
How to Report Incidental Observations
Incidental Observations are casual wildlife sightings that happen when you’re outside – hiking, camping, swimming, driving, etc.
Spotting a species in the “right place at the right time” can have a far-reaching effect. Knowing what species are present in different locations helps identify areas that are important (e.g. breeding sites, hibernation sites, migration routes, etc.), which also helps to improve conservation efforts. Incidental observations can also be helpful in determining the spread of invasive species across the province.
If you would like to report your Incidental Observation(s), there are a few things you can record:
Here are some resources to help you identify what you’ve found:
If you have encountered alive or dead
amphibians or reptiles on a road in Canada:
You can report your observations to the road monitoring project run by the Canadian Herpetological Society on iNaturalist.
Click below for more information.
If you have encountered an invasive species in B.C.:
Please report it using a free reporting app on your Android or iPhone/iPad. Alternatively, if you do not have a smartphone, you can report your observation using an online form. Click below for more information.
Additional Resources to Record Sightings
Community science smartphone apps are becoming increasingly popular and can be an excellent
way to contribute to science and learn more about your surroundings. Below is a list of some apps
and websites that are particularly useful in reporting amphibian and reptile sightings and information.
iNaturalist is a free app that can be used to share observations of wildlife across the globe. It is used by naturalists, community scientists, students, educators, and scientists. iNaturalist can also be accessed via its website (For Canadian users).
Long Term Monitoring
Long-term trend data is lacking for many amphibian and reptile species. Monitoring and census projects can provide valuable information for status assessments and protection.
Long-term monitoring requires more time, effort and resources than incidental observations. This type of data collection happens every year for specific locations and species to monitor amphibian and reptile populations – to find out if they’re increasing, decreasing or staying stable.
Data becomes useful the longer the monitoring takes place – a minimum of three to five years are needed before trends can begin to be observed. For some species it may take 10 years or more.
There are many important long-term monitoring projects occurring in B.C.
Click on the button below to learn more!
How can you keep reptiles and amphibians safe at home and work?
Note: It is important to remember that some species have high fidelity to their preferred habitat and can be beneficial to your property. Thus, it is best to adapt to their presence than attempt to continuously move them. If you have permission to move wildlife, be sure to consult professionals on what is a reasonable distance to move them and place them in an area with suitable habitat. For example, if you are relocating a snake, be sure to move it no further than 300 meters from where you found it and place it next to a shrub, log or pile of rocks.
For further reading, visit our resources page here.
How to help amphibians & reptiles safely cross the road:
If you encounter amphibians and/or reptiles on roads, there are several things you can do to help them. Always take note if the animal is alive or injured or dead. If the animal is alive, carefully move it in the direction it was travelling. Only do this if it is safe to do so, wear high visibility clothing, use your hazards on your car, and only attempt when conditions are safe. If you encounter a snake and you are not sure if it is a rattlesnake, always move the snake using a rake, shovel or a long stick, to avoid being bitten. Wear disposable gloves or wash your hands with soap and water before handling amphibians to move them off the road, chemicals and oils on our skin can be very harmful to them.
If the animal is injured, carefully place the animal in a secure container with air holes and place it in a dark quiet place. Promptly contact your local Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.
Report roadkill or “hotspot” areas where wildlife seem to be killed frequently at iNaturalist.