Citizen Science Projects
Christmas Bird Count for Kids
Many of our clubs participate in this annual event that takes place in December & January of each year. It is run by Bird Studies Canada and the data is included in National counts. Experienced guides show participants how to identify local birdlife and lead them in finding and counting birds. Findings are submitted through an online checklist and reported to eBird, where they can be used in scientific research.
Spring Amphibian Road Survey
In the spring many species of mature amphibians move to nearby breeding ponds and wetlands from their winter in the forest. Road crossings can be a major threat to many amphibians, particularly where roads and wetlands meet. It is a great opportunity to see where crossing areas occur and to see them up close. This year a number of clubs across the province (including Otter Home Learners, Oceanside and Nanaimo) participated in data collection in their regions.
North Okanagan’s Annual Swan & Eagle Count
The annual Swan & Eagle Count is done in partnership with the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary and the North Okanagan Naturalist’s Club. Teams travel along one of eight routes throughout the North Okanagan-Shuswap in order to conduct counts. Though the focus is on swans and eagles, the day offers a variety of winter wildlife viewing and the opportunity to learn about nature in the area.
Nanaimo Bat Count
In association with the BC Community Bat program and bat enthusiast Trudy Chatwin members of the Nanaimo club participated in a number of local bat counts. Members got to learn about the different bats that live in their area and how to carry out a proper bat count. The data collected was then used as part of the BC Community Bat program.
Stewardship Days and Projects
1) Invasive Species Removal:
Delta Home Learners Broom Pulling: in partnership with the regional parks and the Boundary Bay Park Association the club spends several days throughout the year pulling up the invasive scotch broom at Boundary Bay Park. Tools, training and safety gear were provided by the park. The days are lead by Nature Mentors from Boundary Bay Park Association.
Victoria’s Invasive Ivy removal: members worked with Friends of Uplands Park in Oak Bay to remove patches of ivy and restore natural habitat. Their “before” and “after” photos are amazing and speak to the real difference that small stewardship projects can have on a landscape.
2) Planting of Native Species:
- The Otter Home Learners Club participated in restorative planting in Brae Island Regional Park on the Fraser River in Fort Langley.
- Oceanside Club planted Sitka Spruce in the Englishman River Estuary in association with the Arrowsmith Naturalists Club.
- South Okanagan Club planted cottonwood trees in association with the Okanagan Nations Alliance, the Regional District of the Okanagan and Similkameen, and the University of British Columbia.
3) Restoration and Construction Projects:
Eastern Fraser Valley Bird Box Building: the club built nest boxes for swallows returning from their wintering grounds in the tropics. Their nesting cavities are disappearing due to loss of forest habitats and the much needed nesting boxes were built and installed in areas identified as high need by expert conservationists. Tree Swallows readily use nest boxes which makes them an excellent conservation tool – plus they are so much fun to build!
Eastern Fraser Valley Coastal Painted Turtle Nest Site Stewardship Project: with precious few of our native turtles left the club lent a helping hand to Painted Turtle mothers and babies. They cleared invasive plants so little turtles have an easier time making their way out of their overwintering nest. Biologist and award winning conservationist, Andrea Gielens taught the club about the Painted Turtle and headed the stewardship project.
Kootenay Lake Walk and Shore Cleanup: in association with the Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society the Nelson club did their part for the lake with a beach and shoreline cleanup and learned about the lake ecosystem and how to help keep the lake healthy.
Kelowna Wetland Restoration & Construction: in association with the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club, the club restored old painted turtle nesting boxes and built new ones in a sensitive turtle nesting area in East Kelowna.