Youth scientists wanted!

Image: Michael Schmidt

Many of Canada’s birds are in trouble (some species have declined by over 90%) and free-roaming cats add to the list of risks that birds face. Cats on the other hand, are also exposed to a variety of threats, including diseases, vehicle collisions, and fights with wildlife and other cats.

This summer, NatureKids members can once again help wild birds and keep cats safe.

You can get involved in two ways:

1. First take our short Bird & Cat survey and get a chance to win some great prizes, including a MEC gift card. This survey (takes only a couple of minutes) helps us learn how many of our members have cats and what youth think about free-roaming cats and bird conservation.

Please follow the link and complete the survey by June 20 for your chance to win cool prizes: www.surveymonkey.com/r/birdawarecatcare2017.

If you completed the survey in Year 1 of the project, please don’t fill it in again.

2. Be a NatureKids Junior Scientist! If you want to help birds and cats, get involved with a real experiment this summer. Junior Scientists will collect data on cat behaviour and on local birds over a 4-week period.

Youth who have a cat that is allowed to go outdoors will be asked to do an experiment with special equipment (either a special colourful cat collar, a CatBib, or a harness and leash) and record their cat’s behaviour. Youth who do not own a cat will make observations of wild birds and cats that visit their yard.

The NatureKids BC team will send you a special package with everything you need to carry out this experiment (no costs involved).

This project is best suited to youth 8+ in age. Younger volunteers may need a little more assistance from their parents or older siblings.

Here’s what a NatureKids family member who did the experiment last year said:

“Thanks for running such a great experiment – I loved that my kids learned about how a real experiment was done, and it definitely increased our awareness of the local impact outdoor cats make.”

Prizes, prizes, prizes! All Junior Scientists who complete the experiment and submit their data to NatureKids BC will receive a NatureKids drawstring backpack and an official certificate.

Sign up as a Junior Scientist by June 20 via https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/birdawarecatcare2017 and receive your experiment package in the mail.

Find out more by emailing us at: citizenscience@naturekidsbc.ca

NatureKids BC is part of the Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives initiative which is a national coalition of individuals and organizations concerned about the well-being of cats and birds. We believe all animals are important, and as humans we owe both cats and birds protection. Cats are at risk when they go outdoors unsupervised. Through improving our treatment of cats we, as a society, also limit their impact on the environment generally, and birds in particular.

We are grateful to our funders for their support for this initiative: Vancouver Foundation, the Gosling Foundation, Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and Nature Canada.


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