The Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Network (NEBN) has the responsibility to manage the Biosphere designation under the Man and Biosphere Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The NEBN is a network of networks where everyone can be involved. One of its mandates is to monitor and promote conservation of biodiversity.
A Bioblitz is a great way to become involved in what is now called community science. It is a free, family-friendly event where citizen scientists explore the campus grounds — a UNESCO-designated World Biosphere Reserve at the base of the Niagara escarpment — to identify and catalogue bugs, birds, amphibians, mammals, and plants. Volunteers come together with the common goal of identifying as many species as possible to create a baseline for researchers and the local community to monitor biodiversity over time. You never know what you mightdiscover!
The NEBN, with the help of Niagara College, partnered with iNaturalist to prepare a project called NEBN — Biodiversity, to add your data. iNaturalist (https://www.inaturalist.org/) is an app that can be uploaded to your cellphone. The app can help you identify species, you will be able to record your species and see where you and other participants are along the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere and what they have discovered. It’s a wonderful way to learn about your environment and contribute to monitoring what we have around us. We are pleased to report thatat the end of July the number of observations in the Biosphere went from an initial 158,000 observations to now having more than 162,000! Lots of data to explore, demonstrating the diversity that we also have in Biosphere.
— Liette Vasseur is professor of Biological Sciences at Brock University