News & Events

24-Jul: Get involved with the Bowen Island Biodiversity Project!

What’s this Project about?

How much do you know about the wild things that share this island with you? They are all around us, but may be disappearing before our very eyes! So, this summer, until September 1st, we’re inviting the island community to work together to log 1,000 observations of wildlife and natural species from neighbourhoods around the island.

The Bowen Island Biodiversity Project is our chance to get to know what plants and animals share this island and to build a baseline of knowledge about all things wonderfully wild: from whales to worms and lichen to sea squirts. And it’s your chance to build your knowledge and help crowdsource valuable information, while having fun, and raising awareness of the other species that share the island with us.

Do you know what kind of bees, ants, spiders, or forest slimes are playing a role in the complex interconnections of biodiversity here? Let’s find out together! You may find a species we didn’t know was here, or discover something thought to be locally extinct. 

How do you log an observation?

We want you to use iNaturalist to log your observations of Bowen Island flora and fauna. It’s free to use and very easy.

iNaturalist is a social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists, built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity, around the globe. All you need to use it to log an observation is access to the smartphone app, or the desktop website, and an account (which is easy to create). Then you upload a photo to record your observation and share it with other users (see what has already been logged about Bowen Island).

You don’t have to know what you are looking at, or be an amazing photographer. If your photo is clear, once it’s uploaded iNaturalist will give you suggestions about what it thinks you just took a photo of, and you can choose one, especially if it says “Visually Similar” AND “Seen Nearby.”

Collaborating on-line experts will help you identify species in your photo, if you aren’t sure exactly what it is. Do you know what kind of bees, ants, or spiders or forest slimes are playing a role in the complex interconnections of biodiversity? Let’s find out together. You may find a species we didn’t know was here, or discover something thought to be locally extinct. 

How to get involved

You can use your smartphone or computer to upload photos to your account. You can also upload photos taken with a camera.

The easy way to participate is to grab the iNaturalist smartphone app, and then get outside and take photos of plants, animals and other strange and wonderful wild things and share them on iNaturalist. Make observations with other in your neighbourhood or club, and challenge other neighbourhoods and clubs to make the most observations, or log the most species.

Step 1: Turn on location services on your phone, or your GPS function on your camera.

If your camera does not have GPS capabilities make note of where you’re collecting information.

Step 2: Make an observation

Take photos of wild organisms: plants, animals, fungi or other signs of life such as a nest or tracks.

Take multiple photos of each finding with different features, angles and sizes, with close- ups and wide-angle shots.

Any observations you make within BC parks and protected areas will be automatically included in the BC Parks project.

Step 3: Upload your observation

Use the iNaturalist app or The app is great for on-the-spot uploads and identification, while the website makes it easy to upload multiple photos and observations at once.

Fill in details of the observation yourself or choose from iNaturalist’s suggestions.

Don’t know what you’re looking at? Choose a broader group such as “mosses” or “grasses.” This helps the iNaturalist community find and identify your observation.

Step 4: Share your observation

Upload your photo through the app or website. If you don’t have internet access you can save your observation to your app’s account and upload it later.

Photography tips

  • Plants: Petals, leaves. stem, and base.
  • Mushrooms: Underside, top, and sides.
  • Trees & Shrubs: Close-ups of bark and leaves, wide shot of the whole plant..
  • Snails: Shell opening and both sides of the shell (if you can without disturbing them)
  • Mollusks: Hinge where the two shell halves meet and inside the shell if it’s empty.
  • Dragonflies: Side shots are best with a close-up of the tail. From above if it has a distinctive wing pattern.
  • Bees, Crabs, Spiders: From above and from the front to show mouthparts or claws.
  • Small Organisms: Include an object in the photo to help show size. This could be as simple as your hand, lens cap or a pencil.

Why should you participate?

The majority of today’s extinctions occur on islands.. And we are increasingly noting comments about how things used to be on Bowen: “We used to hear frogs here,” “This area used to be full of salamanders,” “There used to be grouse,” “We used to see flying squirrels,” “There used to be Chinook salmon,” “… resident Orcas …,” “Why don’t we see toads any more?”. If we don’t know what species we have, we may not have a chance to save them. The Project is a way to have fun and learn more about our island flora and fauna while helping to collect data that may be helpful in guiding local solutions for island stewardship, long into the future. You observations will also add to data repositories like the NatureServe CanadaCanadensys and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help other scientists. All you have to do is observe!

With a shifting baseline where “normal” is a depleted list of local species of animals and plants, we decided that a fun community challenge would be a great way to get more people increased knowledge about the species that are still here today. With more knowledge comes understanding about our impact on the natural world and how we can be more conscientious, and caring about our role in the loss or survival of our local species.

Got questions?

If you have any questions about the project, send us an email message, and we’ll get back to you.

About iNaturalist

iNaturalist Canada is a place where you can record and share what you see in nature, meet other nature watchers, and learn about Canada’s wildlife. It encourages the participation of a wide variety of nature enthusiasts and everyday people. Through connecting different perceptions and expertise of the natural world, iNaturalist Canada hopes to create extensive community awareness of local biodiversity and promote further exploration of local environments. Every piece of information on a species, combined with the vast network of citizen scientists, can give a big picture of Canada’s natural history and be key contributions for conservation decisions.iNaturalist Canada is part of a larger iNaturalist Network which is an international network that allows the transfer of species data and shared technology.

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