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Special Notice - Purchase your Bruce Trail gifts and gift memberships before Dec. 6 to ensure delivery by Christmas.

Citizen Science

Collect important biodiversity data as you hike

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We're looking for citizen scientists to help us better understand the diversity and distribution of plants, fungi and birds along the Bruce Trail.

All skill levels welcome.

Whether you are a trained botanist, mycologist or ornithologist, or just interested in learning more about plants, fungi and birds, the Bruce Trail Conservancy can use your help. Using the free powerful online tool iNaturalist, you can collect much needed data while you are out hiking the Bruce Trail.  

Each observation from our Bruce Trail community will help

  • Catalogue species along the Trail
  • Build a map of sightings
  • Create a visual tool to look for distribution patterns & species movement
  • Track invasive species, rare species and native species 

See what our community of citizen science volunteers have found so far 
Visit the Bruce Trail Conservancy iNaturalist page

How to Participate

1. Create an account at inaturalist.ca/signup

2. Download the iNaturalist app on your mobile device (optional):

3. Register as a BTC Citizen Science volunteer

Contact Meghan Croll at mcroll@brucetrail.org. We'll add you to the Bruce Trail iNaturalist Project so that you can start adding observations. Download our iNaturalist Guide for more information.

4. Start hiking and taking pictures of plants, mushrooms and birds along the way.

Take photos either directly in the iNaturalist app, or using your regular camera app or camera

5. Share the observations with the Bruce Trail iNaturalist Project

  1. Using the iNaturalist app:  
    a) Sync your photos using the iNaturalist app
    b) Remember to add each photo to the Bruce Trail iNaturalist Project. Although uploaded, your photos are not automatically added to the Bruce Trail iNaturalist Project

    OR
     
  2. Using the iNaturalist website:
    a) Login to your iNaturalist account & Upload your photos
    b) Remember to add each photo to the Bruce Trail iNaturalist Project. Although uploaded, your photos are not automatically added to the Bruce Trail iNaturalist Project

FAQs

Do I need the iNaturalist App?

The iNaturalist App is handy but is not required. Without it you can still participate by uploading photos to the iNaturalist website directly, however, you'll need to manually enter your location information for each observation.

Do I need to know my plants/mushrooms/birds well?

Don't worry if you are new to species identification. Label your photo as best you can and others can help identify it. Plus you can have the app make suggestions based on your photo. Your observations will be checked by BTC ecologists and other iNaturalist observers.

If you have botanical/mycological/ornithological knowledge, not only can you add your data, you can contribute to the identification of observations made by other iNaturalist participants.

What kinds of plants/mushrooms/birds should be included?

Any and all that occur along the Bruce Trail are welcomed. For plants this means wildflowers, grasses, ferns, shrubs and trees. We're looking for rare or common, introduced or native, invasive or non-invasive.

Notes on being a respectful citizen scientist

Minimizing disturbance to the flora we are observing is the main concern for every citizen scientist and field botanist. This includes:

  • staying on the trail
  • taking only photographs
  • watching where you place your feet

Resources

Books:

Plants of Southern Ontario - available at the BTC online Store or by calling 1-800-665-HIKE (4453) 

Fact Sheets:

Asters

Purple Stemmed Aster
Upland White Aster 
Large Leaved Aster 

Ferns

Harts Tongue Fern 
Christmas Fern 
Northern Holly Fern 

Trees

Butternut
American Chestnut 
Sugar Maple 
American Beech 

Other Plants

Virginia Bluebells 
Squawroot 
Canada Goldenrod 
Spring Beauty 
Round Lobed Hepatica 
Hooded Ladies Tresses 
Striped Coalroot 
Wild Ginger
Alaska Orchid