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Conservation STEM Challenge

Be a Citizen Scientist! 

The Black-footed Ferret is a species that was once thought to be extinct—until the 1970s, when a farmer’s dog found one in a field! The farmer reported this sighting, which allowed scientists to collect the ferrets to protect them and start a breeding program. Thanks to these efforts, over three hundred Black-footed Ferrets have been successfully released back into the wild.

“Citizen science” involves everyday people contributing to scientific research, usually by collecting data. It plays an important role in monitoring ecosystems and helping conservation efforts! You can be a citizen scientist too, by using an app like iNaturalist to observe and record different species! Your observations could provide valuable information for scientists studying biodiversity, habitats, and the health of ecosystems—just like the farmer’s observations about the Black-footed Ferret.

Your challenge: to embark on a winter walk or expedition in your local area and record your observations using the citizen science app, iNaturalist!

The specs: Explore areas like parks, forests, or even urban environments near you. Use the iNaturalist app to document different species you observe during your exploration. For instructions on how to upload your observations to iNaturalist, click here. Try to document as many species as you can!

Meet the Winners

Congratulations to Leah (11) and Aleena (12)! Watch their winning entries below.

This project is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

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ferret at food bowl