Blue Jay (Photo by Gregg Williams)

Blue Jay (Photo by Gregg Williams)

Citizen science leading to new discoveries, thanks to advances in technology

August 30, 2018
Kingston, Ontario


Nature Conservancy of Canada to host OLG sponsored Ontario NatureTalks speaker series

Kingston, ON (August 30, 2018) – New technology is providing conservation scientists with more information about bird migration and habitat needs than ever before. Apps such as iNaturalist and eBird are enabling citizen scientists to help biologists track and record birds across the globe via their cell phones.

Recently, eBird reported that data collected from its app is showing that migratory birds are falling out of sync with the timing of spring. On average, 48 songbird species investigated are missing the timing of spring green-up by five days per decade. Some species are becoming increasingly mismatched to their environments by double or triple that rate.

Thanks to individual bird sightings across the globe, scientists are able to see a bigger picture of how birds are migrating, interacting with their habitats and their overall population numbers like never before.

On August 30, 2018, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) will be hosting the second of three Ontario NatureTalks, generously supported by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), on this timely topic of technology and citizen science and its importance to land conservation in Ontario.  

At 7 p.m., at Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) in Elgin, Ontario, expert scientists from NCC, Bird Studies Canada and the Natural Heritage Information Centre will share how technology is changing the way we track wildlife across the globe.

Participants will hear from Stuart Mackenzie, migration program manager at Bird Studies Canada (BSC), Mike Burrell, zoologist at the Natural Heritage Information Centre and Mhairi McFarlane, conservation science manager for NCC’s Ontario region. Presentations will highlight advances in technology, such as Bird Studies Canada’s Motus Wildlife Tracking System and popular wildlife traking apps, such as iNaturalist and eBird. Panellist discussions will be followed by a Q&A and refreshments.

The Ontario NatureTalks speaker series is about building connections to nature, and to each other. Through this series, NCC shares stories of conservation to inspire and motivate others to be champions for nature. Several NatureTalks events are scheduled to take place across Ontario, thanks to OLG’s generosity. 


“We are pleased that OLG has committed to supporting NCC by sponsoring our Ontario NatureTalks events. Connecting Canadians to nature, whether it be through Conservation Volunteers events, property hikes or educational series like NatureTalks, is important to the future of conservation in Canada.” ~ Dana Kleniewski, Director of Development and Communications, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ontario Region.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast, with more than 184,000 acres (74,000 hectares) in Ontario. To learn more, visit

OLG is a crown agency that develops world-class gaming entertainment for the Province of Ontario.  Acting in a socially responsible way, OLG conducts and manages land-based gaming facilities; the sale of province-wide lottery games; PlayOLG Internet gaming; and the delivery of bingo and other electronic gaming products at Charitable Gaming Centres. OLG is also helping to build a more sustainable horse racing industry in Ontario. Since 1975, OLG has provided nearly $47 billion to the people and Province of Ontario to support key government priorities like health care; the treatment, prevention and research of problem gambling; and support for amateur athletes. Each year, proceeds from OLG’s operations also support host communities, Ontario First Nations, lottery retailers and local charities across the province.


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