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Variety of life on County’s south shore being shared to iNaturalist

Monarch butterflies – John Lowry photo

The variety of life on the County’s south shore -from the rarest bird to the most common weed – is being recorded in the online database iNaturalist for all to observe.

The new South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI) project was established on iNaturalist to help record the vast biodiversity of the South Shore.

iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature. The non-profit social network of naturalists, citizen scientists and biologists is built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe.

SSJI board member John Lowry initiated the local project for the group. He is an active contributor to iNaturalist with expertise, photography and time.

American Gold Finch – John Lowry photo

Biodiversity, in short, is the variety of life in the world or a particular habitat or ecosystem. The south shore of Prince Edward County is known as a local ‘hotspot’ for biodiversity and one of the core reasons why SSJI was established back in 2018 – with the goal of promoting the preservation and protection of this diverse region.

Last year, SSJI identified biodiversity and the ongoing collection of data pertaining to that subject as one of its five strategic pillars. The ‘collection’ project on iNaturalist records past, present and future observations of the many examples of biodiversity along the South Shore Click here to view the contributions.

iNaturalist works on the simple premise that individuals record their observations of natural phenomena, either by a photo or sound recording, and submit those observations to the iNaturalist website. Submissions can be made using the iNaturalist phone app or directly to the iNaturalist website using a computer.

To aid users in identifying species when they upload their observations, iNaturalist uses an automated species identification tool. This tool was first released in 2017 and is upgraded annually.

iNaturalist provides valuable open data to research projects, land managers, other organizations and the public. The data collected using this tool is invaluable in assessing the present biodiversity of a region, as well as recording trends in that biodiversity. The information can provide researchers with important data on such diverse issues as the emergence of invasive species and the decline of native species.

The South Shore Joint Initiative is a volunteer run non-profit registered charity with a mission to educate and advocate for the protection, preservation and restoration of South Shore lands and waters in Prince Edward County, where together biodiversity and people thrive.
Click here to visit the SSJI website 

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  1. David Thomas says:

    Excellent initiative! You can’t protect it if you aren’t aware of it.

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