We hope that you are gearing up for a pleasant weekend, and that you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy some beautiful spring weather and nature near you.
We are very excited to announce the launch of the KBAs of Canada iNaturalist project! All currently accepted KBAs and many candidate KBAs have been added to this project to help facilitate the documentation of biodiversity in these wonderful places. While the main KBAs of Canada umbrella project summarizes iNaturalist sightings from all KBAs in the country, each KBA also has its own project page with more details about biodiversity identified within each site (for example, here’s the project page for Ontario’s Long Point Peninsula and Marshes KBA). Each project features leaderboards showing stats on iNaturalist users with the most observations and species sighted, and identifications made within each KBA. Click the “Stats” button on project pages to see graphical breakdowns and some of the most exciting observations made at each site!
Also launching today is the 2023 City Nature Challenge! Forty-two Canadian cities from Whitehorse, Yukon, to St. Johns, Newfoundland, will be competing with each other and over 400 other cities worldwide in a friendly biodiversity challenge to see which city reigns supreme. Canada’s urban or near-urban KBAs, like Toronto’s Leslie Street Spit KBA or Victoria’s Fort Rodd Hill KBA, will be excellent spots to explore while helping your city compete in this challenge. For more information on the City Nature Challenge, check out this recent webinar by Canadian Wildlife Federation or visit the 2023 City Nature Challenge Canada website here.
This weekend will be a great opportunity to both explore some of the KBAs near you and to help add to the understanding of Canadian biodiversity within and near cities. Remember to stay safe and be respectful of wildlife, and enjoy yourself!
Search for your favorite KBA or candidate KBA through the main KBAs of Canada project, or by typing its name in the iNaturalist search bar. For example, you can use the leaderboard on the KBAs of Canada page to find the KBA with the most observations (Fraser River Estuary KBA) or use the search bar to find a specific KBA near you, like the Bickford Oak Woods KBA.
Join the main KBAs of Canada project and your favorite individual site projects to save the project to your personal iNaturalist profile, and keep updated on news and sightings in the KBAs. Join a project using the button to the right of the “About” section at the top of project pages.
Site projects will automatically collect all observations submitted within the site boundaries. They will even collect past sightings, so feel welcome to upload your old photo sightings of species as well! iNaturalist projects do not show observations of very threatened or sensitive species, so these will be missing in species counts, but those data will still be accessible to researchers like those at KBA Canada who have special data sharing agreements with iNaturalist Canada.
If a KBA or Candidate KBA page is missing a banner photo and you have a photo of the site that you would like to share, please contact us to have this added to the project and help showcase the beauty of these sites!
iNaturalist is a community science platform that allows nature enthusiasts to record and share observations of plants, animals, and other living organisms from all over the world, through a free app or website. Through artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, and the collaborative identification of observations by other iNaturalist users, iNaturalist is a great tool for learning more about biodiversity around you. Data from iNaturalist can be used by researchers and conservationists to monitor and track species populations, identify areas of ecological importance (including KBAs!), and inform conservation strategies
For more information on iNaturalist, and for tips on taking photos for iNaturalist or submitting observations of species using the iNaturalist app or website, check out the linked brochures created by Canadian Wildlife Federation.
For more on the power of iNaturalist to engage conservation around diverse species, watch this recent BC Nature, Birds Canada and WCS Canada webinar, featuring presentations from Liam Ragan (BC IBA Coordinator and KBA B.C. First Nations Liaison), James Pagé (Species at Risk and Biodiversity Specialist at Canadian Wildlife Federation), and Anne Murray (IBA Caretaker and Chair of Birds and Biodiversity Conservation Committee at Delta Naturalists Society).
We are always looking for more stories about KBAs and the fascinating species within them. If you have a story about a KBA or a potential KBA species that you’d like to share, write to us at KBA Canada.
As always, please get in touch if you have questions or if you want to learn more.
Canada Key Biodiversity Areas Assessment and Outreach Coordinator / Coordonnateur de l’évaluation et de la sensibilisation des zones clés pour la biodiversité