Facilitating the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast

Conservation through Citizen Engagement on BC’s South Coast

The SCCP has initiated a "citizen science" approach to support endangered species conservation by the public on BC's Coast!

So what is citizen science? "Broadly defined, citizen science is a form of research collaboration that involves volunteers in producing authentic scientific research. Drastically simplified, citizen science is research accomplished by engaging humans as “sensors” to collect scientific data or as “processors” to manipulate scientific data or to solve data analysis problems. Involving people beyond professional scientists in a project enables unique new research, cumulating the contributions of many individuals (Bonney, et al., 2014) and taking advantage of human competencies that can be substantially more sophisticated than machines. To produce sound science, citizen science projects incorporate means of assuring the quality of the research activities according to accepted scientific norms (Wiggins, et al., 2011), which distinguishes them from many other forms of collective content production.
A variety of labels have been used to describe citizen science and related forms of public participation in scientific research. Among these, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research, civic science, action science, and community science have been used most often. Each label is specific to a particular set of research disciplines and emphasizes different features of public engagement in science." Surveying the Citizen Science Landscape (2015).

BC’s South Coast is a biodiversity hot-spot. Land-use decision makers have an expectation that species monitoring and habitat restoration needs will be filled by stewardship and professional expertise. This will not be achieved without these audiences receiving appropriate skills, training, up-to-date tools and expertise. The South Coast Conservation Program is addressing this by employing new mobile and digital resources through an interactive social networking approach that supports improved stewardship practices across diverse interests.

Through funding from the Federal Government's National Conservation Plan, work on the project was kicked off in March 2015 through a series of interactive dialogues to network and connect existing and potential user groups and local interests. 

Goals of the project:

The workshops were the first step, what are the long-term goals?

  • An innovative, citizen-based approach to addressing knowledge deficiencies around species and their habitats.
  • An empowered and engaged citizen science community mentored through conservation experts, linked to up to date species information through social networking and mobile technology.
  • The resources needed for the public to become an integral component of the conservation narrative are accessible and sustained.

Dialogue presentations from project partners and a summary report on perceptions and findings are provided below under "Resources". Stay up to date with the SCCP's new mobile application the "South Coast Endangered Species Finder" to access expanded species and ecological communities profiles on the go or check out our Species and Habitat page and sign up for our news and updates off our homepage





Part of the National Conservation Plan, this project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. Dans le cadre du Plan de conservation national, ce projet a ete realise avec l'appui financier du gouvernement du Canada .

What are the issues facing endangered species conservation, how can a citizen science approach be a value added tool to engaging and addressing the issues? Pamela Zevit SCCP Program Coordinator
How does the SCCP engage private landowners in becoming active stewards in species at risk conservation? Tamsin Baker SCCP Stewardship Coordinator
A conservation success story from the Township of Langley that brought people and endangered species together to save a special place. Dave Clements Trinity Western University
How land conservancies can engage landowners in conservation science and protect species spaces for wildlife. Joanne Neilson Fraser Valley Conservancy
New approaches to researching endangered species - Quest University and the Squamish River Watershed Society investigate Pacific Water Shrew in the marine environment. Peter-Ann Higgins Quest University
How BC's longest running BioBlitz - in Whistler, has contributed to conservation in the Sea-Sky region. Bob Brett
Understanding threats to endangered species (e.g. cat predation) and how the public can become more proactively involved in reducing them through applying stewardship practices. D.G. Blair Stewardship Centre of BC
Conserving endangered species often involves dealing with conflict between policy and private land. How can we tackle these issues in a less contentious way that improves successful outcomes? Monica Pearson, Balance Ecological
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