Over the August long weekend, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is encouraging everyone to get outside to enjoy and document the nature around them, in the name of science. 

NCC’s third-annual Big Backyard BioBlitz will run from July 28 to August 1, across the country. From backyards to national parks, on lunch break and on vacation, people can snap photos of the species they find around them and submit their observations to one of the largest crowd-sourced species inventories in Canada. Together, we’ll compile critical information on species populations and locations for scientists and conservation planners, who can use this information to plan future protection and restoration efforts across the country. 

“Anyone can participate. It’s a great way for people of all ages to look at nature more closely and learn about biodiversity close to home,” said Samantha Knight, conservation science manager with NCC. “Spending time outdoors is also beneficial for our physical and mental well-being. This is a great way to connect with nature and fellow nature lovers, while contributing to our collective knowledge of plants, animals and fungi in Canada.”  

To join the Big Backyard BioBlitz, people can register anytime at natureconservancy.ca/bbb. Once registered, participants will receive a step-by-step guide on how to participate, photography tips, information about species identification, and an automatic entry to win a Big Backyard BioBlitz prize pack.  

“Whether you log an invasive plant like leafy spruge, or a rare bird like the loggerhead shrike, every entry counts,” Knight said. “It can provide valuable information such as locating species outside of their usual range or where invasive species are encroaching. This information can be used to identify important habitat for protecting at-risk species.” 

More than 6,500 participants logged over 36,000 observations across Canada in last year’s event. One keen observer in Alberta logged more than 500 species observations over the Big Backyard BioBlitz weekend.