There are many different ways to get outside and observe nature. The NatureWatch programs give citizens an opportunity to learn about their environment while contributing to a data set that scientists need to monitor and protect it.
This data is being used to add to our knowledge of the effects of climate change and other impacts on biodiversity. People of all ages and skill sets can participate in NatureWatch.
The four programs allow you to participate at your own pace and chosen locations, even in your own backyard. While the monitoring protocols are scientifically rigorous, they are quick and easy to follow, and cater to beginner and expert alike. The four NatureWatch programs are PlantWatch, FrogWatch, WormWatch and IceWatch.
PlantWatch participants observe the first bloom, mid bloom and leaf out of 18 native or 2 non-native plants in their area. Observations of a plant at the same location over many years will help us understand how climate change is affecting the blooming times of specific plants in Saskatchewan. Even one observation of one plant is a great contribution!
FrogWatch participants listen for toad and frog calls during mating season in the springtime. Frogs and toads can be used as indicator species of a healthy environment, because they are vulnerable to changes in the atmosphere, the land, or the water. By participating in this program you will help increase our knowledge of frogs and toads in Canada.
WormWatch participants record how many and what species of earthworms are located at their site. The number of worms in a specific volume of earth can tell us a lot about how the habitat is being managed, because earthworms are very sensitive to soil disturbance.
IceWatch participants record when the freeze and thaw dates are of their local lakes or rivers. By analyzing citizen records, scientists have found that the freeze-thaw cycles of Northern water bodies are changing.
All of these monitoring programs can be found on the website www.naturewatch.ca
For more information on the program or how to become a NatureWatch participant please call 306-780-9481 in Regina, or 1-800-667-4668 outside of Regina, or e-mail at lwee...@naturesask.ca. Thanks and Happy NatureWatching.