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New Nature Watch project launched in Canada

By Tim Sandle     May 4, 2015 in Environment
Toronto - Now spring is here, Nature Watch and the Toronto Zoo are encouraging Canadians to get into their backyards and local parks and contribute to scientific research through citizen science projects.
To encourage people not only to go outdoors but also to look at what they see and become more aware of their surroundings, Nature Watch has launched an enhanced mobile-friendly website to encourage families to reconnect with nature. The Nature Watch program includes FrogWatch, PlantWatch, IceWatch and WormWatch.
Tobacco Hornworm  found in Urbana  Illinois  USA
Tobacco Hornworm, found in Urbana, Illinois, USA
Daniel Schwen
Here, people can become “citizen scientists” and report sightings of frogs and toads, flowering plants, receding lake ice and even earthworms. The message behind this is to work with the public to help track how environmental changes are affecting Canadian nature. People can use smartphones or computers to pin nature observations on an interactive map. Once sufficient data is uploaded, users can read reports on how their data are being used in research.
Nature Watch is a 15 year-old partnership between Environment Canada, the environmental NGO Nature Canada, and several other organizations, with the aim of getting the Canadian public to help researchers track changes in the natural environment.
Nature Watch is also working with Toronto Zoo. Discussing this, Julia Phillips, Adopt-A-Pond Coordinator, Toronto Zoo told the David Suzuki Foundation: "The Toronto Zoo is proud to be a long-standing partner of the NatureWatch collaborative and excited to support citizen science initiatives like FrogWatch to inspire Canadians to save and protect species and habitats in their own backyards."
An African Forest Elephant  or pachyderm  is seen at the Toronto Zoo.
An African Forest Elephant, or pachyderm, is seen at the Toronto Zoo.
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With one of the projects, the zoo's Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Program plays an integral role by coordinating the FrogWatch program in Ontario.
In related news, the David Suzuki Foundation has called on Canadians to go outside and participate in the 30x30 Nature Challenge. The challenge, as Digital Journal reported last month, is to get Canadians into “the nature habit” by spending 30 minutes a day outside for 30 consecutive days.
More about Nature Watch, Nature, Environment, Canada, Citizen science
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