You too can help to preserve our natural spaces. Many conservation organizations are working to protect plants and animals — through education, research and stewardship. The following organizations are actively involved with communities in collecting data to support scientific research and provide a better understanding of our natural environments.

Canadian Wildlife Federation

The Canadian Wildlife Federation’s (CWF) mission is to conserve and inspire the conservation of Canada’s wildlife and habitats for the use and enjoyment of all. The CWF works with many partners, including popular pan-Canadian project iNaturalist. To learn more or get involved, visit inaturalist.ca.

Locally, the CWF is improving habitats for bees and butterflies with partners such as the NCC. A total of 3.8 hectares of previous brownfield and greenfield spaces have been seeded with a native Ontario seed mix to provide habitat for these important species. You can help monitor these pollinator species by adding your observations and photos of monarch butterflies, bumblebees and other insects to iNaturalist.

A visit to Mer Bleue in the Greenbelt, an area known for its many plant and animal species, is a great place to start recording your observations of our natural environment. Mer Bleue is also one of the best locations to see snapping turtles and painted turtles, as well as many snakes and amphibians.

Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club

Founded in 1863, the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club (OFNC) is the oldest natural history club in Canada. Over 800 members have interests in all aspects of the natural world, from birding to botanizing, investigation to publication, conservation to cooperation. Visit the OFNC website to learn more: ofnc.ca.

The Fletcher Wildlife Garden provides tips and guidance about how to create pollinator-friendly habitats and gardens on urban or rural property, emphasizing the use of plants native to the Ottawa region.

Many of the plants on display at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden were seeded at the new pollinator meadow habitats, accessible along the Greenbelt Pathway East at parking lot 8.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: The definitive resource for birders

Start recording your bird sightings and uploading your photographs with eBird, a mobile-friendly tool that’s easy to use. They also offer a free app to identify birds, Merlin Bird ID.

Ottawa Riverkeeper

The Ottawa Riverkeeper works to protect, promote and improve the health of the Ottawa River and its tributaries. This river shoreline is a key green space in Canada’s Capital, and is one of the most important bird migration routes — from Shirleys Bay in the Greenbelt to Kitchissippi Lookout, further east along the river. The NCC protects these green spaces to ensure the health of this environment for generations to come.

Download iNaturalist, and visit Shirleys Bay in the Greenbelt to start recording your findings.

The Ottawa Riverkeeper also has some great tips for photographing plants and animals for identification. Find out how: www.ottawariverkeeper.ca/the-riverwatch-handbook-online/4-photographing-plants-animals-for-identification/.