The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is hoping to get you outdoors to document the nature around you.
The third annual Big Backyard BioBlitz is running this long weekend, and the NCC wants to know what species of plants, animals and fungi you can see in your area. Conservation Engagement Coordinator with NCC in Manitoba, Evan Balzer, says the event is not to just to have fun, and learn about nature. Balzer says it also helps scientists and conservation planners.
"From a conservation perspective, you know there's always a chance that we'll find something in there that we didn't expect to find," says Balzer. "That can be informative for thinking about where species at risk are, and then hopefully down the line, give us a chance to better protect those species."
Balzer says it's one of the largest crowd-sourced species inventories in Canada as more than 6,500 participants logged over 36,000 observations across the country in last year's event.
Locally, there are some things people can look for around the Central Plains.
"One of the more exciting ones that can be found across the area are snapping turtles, a species listed as at-risk in the province, and definitely one that's hard to miss if you find one," says Balzer. "We've got some amazing plant species coming into bloom right about now, so if you're in a wetland area, something like blue vervain is a cool species to look for. In forests, you got green bog orchids going into bloom now."
They're asking you to submit your photos via their iNaturalist app. You can register to take part in the event by registering at natureconservancy.ca/bbb.