Are you ready to embark on an exciting adventure of exploring and identifying the natural wonders of Saskatoon and its surrounding areas? If you have a passion for nature, photography, and citizen science, then the Saskatoon and Area iNaturalist City Nature Challenge (CNC YXE) is the perfect event for you! This year’s identification phase of the CNC YXE challenge is set to take place from May 2 to May 7, 2023, and it promises to be an exhilarating experience of teamwork, networking, and uniting as a community in the pursuit of nature identification.
The Saskatoon and Area CNC YXE is a unique event that brings together nature enthusiasts, amateur naturalists, and professional scientists to collectively document the biodiversity of the region using the iNaturalist app. During the first phase of the challenge, participants are encouraged to go out and observe as many species as possible, capturing their findings through photographs and uploading them to the iNaturalist platform. This creates a massive citizen science project, generating valuable data that contributes to our understanding of local biodiversity and helps with conservation efforts.
Now, as we move on to the second phase of the challenge, it’s time to put our teamwork and identification skills into action! One of the key tasks for this phase is to clear the backlog of observations that have no identifications, commonly referred to as “unknowns.” This is where your expertise and enthusiasm can make a real difference.
Tony Rebelo, Researcher at the South African National Biodiversity Institute SANBI, IUCN Species Survival Commission, and University of Cape Town UCT Harold Pearson Chair of Botany, suggests a simple strategy for this identification phase. “Make IDs to ‘family level’ in plants,” he advises. “Animals are not an issue, as birds, reptiles, frogs, moths, bugs, butterflies, fish, spiders, etc. are all easy enough. And fungi are too difficult: just please use “Fungi including Lichens” and then the observer should be encouraged to try a crosspost to Facebook Saskatchewan Mycological Working Group. But for plants, please try and get the families. These should be easy for flowers such as Daisies, Peas, Stonecrops, Orchids (if only), grasses,and other iconic groups. Ferns and Mosses are OK ‘families’ as well. Rebelo mentions that if you don’t know the family or genus, then just skip it: Do NOT ID them as ‘Plants’ or ‘Dicots’ unless there is no chance that they will ever be identified.” There are some interesting online hints and tips clues here.
In addition to identifying plant families, there are several other tasks you can do to contribute to the success of the Saskatoon and Area CNC YXE. Keep an eye out for superb photographs, outstanding observations, and really cool stuff, and nominate them for the “Observation of the Month” project. If you come across planted or captive species, make sure to mark them as such. Be vigilant for duplicates and add a comment for duplicates to help streamline the observations. If you encounter observations with multiple species, add a comment to ask the observer to separate them into their own observations, and add an ID of “State of Matter: Life” if needed. Finding multiple species in one observation, and asking the observer to duplicate the image for another organism it for the other organism is a key to add more observations to the City Nature Challenge. Watch for holes in leaves, bumps or eggs on leaves, insects nestled in the centre of flower blossoms, which would indicate multiple species in one image which could be duplicated into more than one observation. Every plant, animal, insect, etc has to have their own webpage on iNaturalist. Lastly, keep an eye out for pictures of pet dogs, birds, fish or cats, and mark them as not wild.
By actively participating in these identification tasks, you can make a meaningful contribution to the Saskatoon and Area CNC YXE and help unlock the full potential of the citizen science data collected during the challenge. Your efforts will not only contribute to our understanding of local biodiversity but also help with conservation efforts and provide valuable data for researchers and scientists.
Beyond the scientific and conservation aspects, the Saskatoon and Area CNC YXE is also a fantastic opportunity to connect with fellow nature enthusiasts, learn from experts, and foster a sense of community. The teamwork involved in identifying species and clearing the backlog of unknown observations creates a collaborative environment where participants can learn from each other, share knowledge, and build lasting relationships.
So, are you ready to embark on this exciting adventure and unleash the power of teamwork and nature identification? Join the Saskatoon and Area iNaturalist City Nature Challenge 2023 second phase – Identification- from May 2 to May 7, and be a part of this unique citizen science event. You know you want to! Whether you are a seasoned naturalist or a curious beginner, your participation can make a real difference in our understanding of local biodiversity and conservation efforts. Together, let’s celebrate the wonders of nature, connect with our community, and contribute to scientific research. Happy observing and identifying!
Let us know if you would like to meet over zoom to collaborate!
For directions as to how to drive to “George Genereux” Urban Regional Park
For directions on how to drive to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
For more information:
Blairmore Sector Plan Report; planning for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, George Genereux Urban Regional Park and West Swale and areas around them inside of Saskatoon city limits
NEW P4G District Official Community Plan
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SE 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)?with map
Tumblr friendsafforestation.tumblr.comFacebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park
Facebook: StBarbeBaker Afforestation Area
Facebook for the non profit Charity Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. FriendsAreas
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Twitter: St Barbe Baker Charity Twitter:FriendsAreas
Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail / e-transfers )Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!
Donations can be made through Paypal, Canada Helps, Contact Donate A Car Canada, SARCAN Drop & Go 106100594 for the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Use the UN Decade’s Visual Identity
Make it your own
Spread the word about the UN Decade
Let’s Bring Back Forests
Let’s Green Our Cities
“Be like a tree in pursuit of your cause. Stand firm, grip hard, thrust upward. Bend to the winds of heaven..”
Richard St. Barbe Baker