SNO Squall

Issue #14 – September 2016 – Citizen Science Edition

An Exciting Time for Citizen Science

Are you an aspiring citizen scientist? All over the world, members of the public contribute to scientific research by reporting species sightings, participating in formal surveys or monitoring efforts and more. You can join these citizen scientists with the help of Ontario Nature’s new Directory of Ontario Citizen Science (DOCS).  Continue reading

The Ontario BioBlitz Program


The Curator of Invertebrates at the Toronto Zoo, Tom Mason, and Managing Director of Biodiversity at the Royal Ontario Museum, Dave Ireland, were discussing ways in which the science and naturalist communities might engage non-scientists in a meaningful, participatory way about nature within the city limits.  The concept of a bioblitz, or an intensive survey of life within a specified area over some set amount of time, emerged as something that might work. What started as a pilot project in the Rouge Valley in 2012 has grown and morphed into one of the largest citizen science events in Canada. Continue reading

For love of turtles — Local community joins forces with Land Trust

Turtle1Oh, the things I have learned through two years of working with the Turtle Road Mortality Mitigation project!  I have learned, for example, that snapping turtles can climb a chain link fence, and that some turtle species don’t reach reproductive maturity until they are 20 years of age. I have learned that 7 out of 8 Ontario turtle species are classified as “Species at Risk”, and that lots of people care enough about this fact to do something about it. Continue reading


Ontario SwiftWatch: Engaging Communities in Urban Bird Conservation

Figure 1. Chimney Swift in flight. Photo credit: Zak Pohlen, courtesy of Ontario Nature.

Chimney Swifts are a little bird in big trouble. Sometimes described as a “cigar with wings,” these small, fast-flying, swallow-like birds spend much of their time twittering in flight as they feed on insects over cities and rural areas. Historically, Chimney Swifts roosted and nested in large, hollow trees. As Europeans settled in North America, these natural habitats became scarce as mature and old-growth forests were cleared. Chimney Swifts adapted to these changes on the landscape and began to use chimneys for nesting and roosting. Chimney Swifts, though, are once again facing complex challenges. Continue reading

Volunteers Supporting Long-term Monitoring and Freshwater Health

Figure 1. A Lake Partner Program volunteer collecting water clarity observations using a Secchi disk. Photo credit: Terry Rees.

The Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) has partnered for many years with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) on volunteer water-quality monitoring programs. The Lake Partner Program (LPP) is Ontario’s volunteer inland lake monitoring program. Each year approximately 600 volunteers (i.e., lake stewards or citizen scientists) monitor nearly 550 inland lakes at over 800 sampling locations (including lakes with multiple basins). Continue reading


Farmers Grow Scientific Understanding of Pests Impacting Garlic Production 

Though agricFigure 2. Some of the garlic grower citizen scientists. Photo credit: Emma Horrigan.ultural production in Haliburton County occurs on a relatively small scale, garlic is considered an important crop. It thrives despite poor soil conditions and a short growing season. Unlike other market garden crops, garlic and other products from the Allium family, such as onions, chives, and shallots, grow extensively through the County and represent important income for growers in the region. In 2013, members of the Haliburton County Garlic Growers Association (HCGGA) were starting to document significant crop loss as a result of leek moth (Acrolepiopsis assectella). Continue reading


This issue sponsored by:  

SNO gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Ontario Nature and the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association to present this citizen science issue of SNO Squall.

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