Citizen science involves people as volunteers who help scientists by collecting information about the environment.
It's as easy as using your eyes and ears to track changes in nature. And, you can learn about the environment while gathering the information. Your information will help scientists and governments monitor and protect ecosystems.
Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network
The Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network of Environment Canada is a citizen-science group.
Its NatureWatch programme proposes four subjects for observation:
- You can report on amphibians in your area.
- Frogs and toads are especially sensitive to pollution and other environmental changes. Because of this, they can tell us a lot about the health of wetlands.
- You can report the date on which certain plants flower in your area.
- With the help of that information, scientists can measure the effects of climate change on the flowering in various regions of Canada.
- You can volunteer to observe when ice forms in autumn and thaws in spring.
- Scientists want to know whether climate change is affecting streams and lakes.
- By taking samples of earthworms, you can help scientists to find out how many species of earthworms are in Canada, and where they live.
- The research results help researchers follow ecological changes that may harm the environment.
Citizen Science Network
The Citizen Science Network is a project of Wildlife Habitat Canada. As a "citizen scientist", you can volunteer to collect data from your community or watershed about water quality, biodiversity and other topics. The network shares the information you collect with people who make decisions that affect the environment.
On the Citizen Science Network web site, you can:
- find volunteer opportunities
- look at monitoring tools
- find equipment for use in sampling.
The web site also has a list of projects from across Canada. You can join a group that is testing streams for water quality. Or, perhaps adopt a river, stream or pond. You can search for projects in different kinds of aquatic ecosystems and on specific topics:
- fresh water
- water quality
- watershed protection.
How can you help protect water resources and ecosystems? Here's a list of major Canadian clubs involved with water. Join one!
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
The Council of Canadians—Water Campaign
David Suzuki Foundation
Earth Day Canada
Friends of the Earth Canada
The Nature Conservancy
Sierra Youth Coalition