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Citizen Science

Collect important biodiversity data as you hike

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

Whether you are a trained botanist or just interested in learning more about plant life, 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 flora along the Trail
  • build a map of plant 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):

iNaturalist for iOS devices >>

iNaturalist for Android devices >>

3. Register as a BTC Citizen Science volunteer

Complete our online volunteer form or contact Meghan Croll at mcroll@brucetrail.org.

We'll add you to the Bruce Trail iNaturalist Project so that you can start adding observations.

4. Start hiking and taking pictures of flora 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:   Download our Citizen Science Program Guide (.pdf, 2 MB)

    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 well?

Don't worry if you are new to plant 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 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 should be included?

Any and all plants that occur along the Bruce Trail are welcomed. 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

Bulblet 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