About AB Enviro & Parks

Public servants working with Albertans to protect our environment.

Advancing knowledge through citizen science

Citizen science is an expanding field referring to public involvement in scientific research or monitoring with professional scientists. The public involvement may include anything from aiding in  data collection, to all aspects of a project (co-created) – from project design analysis and sharing of results. Citizen involvement in the scientific process is beneficial because it can increase scientific understanding, allow people to contribute to research on topics that interest them, create trusted results, fill data gaps and address local information needs and environmental concerns.

Albertans are helping advance this field of practice in our province. Through involvement in air and water monitoring initiatives to biodiversity programs looking at invasive species, pronghorns and bees, Albertans are supporting efforts in monitoring the environment and building resilient ecosystems.

Alberta Environment and Parks and the Miistakis Institute recently co-hosted a workshop titled: ‘Advancing Citizen Science in Alberta: Changing Perspectives, Breaking Barriers.’ The event explored best practices in the field of citizen science and identified priority actions to advance the field in Alberta. It also provided an opportunity for knowledge exchange and co-learning between citizen science experts, practitioners, resource managers and community members.

Alberta Environment and Parks’ Chief Scientist Dr. Fred Wrona remarked, “citizen

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Dr. Lea Shanley (South Big Data Innovation Hub), Chief Scientist Dr. Fred Wrona (Alberta Environment & Parks), Jade Lauren Cawthray-Syms (University of Dundee), and Dr. Jennifer Shirk (Citizen Science Association).

science offers a unique approach to advance a generation of knowledge” and build public trust. A number of challenges and barriers need to be overcome, however, including perceptions around credibility and relevance of citizen science data and connecting this data with decision-makers.

“Be water on stone – wear it down or move around it” was one piece of advice shared by Lea Shanley, a passionate workshop panellist from South Big Data Innovation Hub. The workshop focused on overcoming barriers and growing the field of citizen science in Alberta.

Limitations to citizen science need to be considered and understood to ensure programs generate credible data and information. While more work is required to understand the role and utility of citizen science in Alberta, the workshop highlighted that engaged and trained citizen scientists can make meaningful contributions to science and monitoring programs by following recognized monitoring protocols and accredited data standards.

What’s next?

Working with the Miistakis Institute, Alberta Environment and Parks is developing principles and strategies to guide good practice and appropriate application of citizen science as part of the provincial environmental monitoring and science program.

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Working session on citizen science in Alberta.

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Science guides policies and actions in Alberta’s Eastern Slopes

When Albertans think about the Rocky Mountains, we inherently think of the wild, rugged mountain landscape that always leaves us wanting more. Hiking those rigid mountain peaks, jumping into those cold glacial lakes, and waking up to fresh mountain air are some of the greatest pleasures Alberta’s Rocky Mountains offer visitors and residents alike.

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Alberta Parks: Castle Area

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It’s All Hands on Deck to Protect Alberta’s Waters!

As summer comes to a close, Albertans will soon be packing up their summer floaties and digging out their warm winter gear! Instead of going into hibernation instantly, your important role as citizen scientists must continue on through the cold times ahead. We must remain diligent and keep our eyes peeled for invasive species. This year, we’re asking Albertans to band together and lend an extra helping hand while they are packing up their cabins at the lake. Continue reading

Clean, Drain and Dry: Pro Tips and Tricks

The Government of Alberta is committed to protecting and maintaining healthy and sustainable fish populations and aquatic ecosystems throughout the province, and the way we work as public servants reflects this.

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Plan ahead. Some gear is very difficult to clean. If you don’t need to use it, don’t! You only need to clean equipment that has been in contact with the water.

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The everyday adventures of a parks interpreter

Story by Scott Sunderwald – Alberta Parks Interpreter

20170708_185052I often say that being an interpreter for Alberta Parks is more of a calling than a job. It takes many years of dedicated seasonal work to prove your salt, and, even then, only a few people are lucky enough to build a full-time career from interpretation.  I try to remember that every day and count my blessings. Continue reading

Fish Alberta – Pigeon Lake

Pigeon Lake is one of Alberta’s most intensively developed and popular lakes. It is located 60 km southwest of Edmonton, within Leduc and Wetaskiwin counties. The lake attracts people for camping, fishing, boating, swimming, many other watersports and relaxation. Continue reading

Avoiding Batty Stowaways

batonstalagtite DHSummer is here, and with it comes camping and other activities that involve travelling inter-provincially or perhaps down into the United States. While you want to take the experience home with you, that should not include accidentally packing up a bat! Continue reading

Does Clean, Drain and Dry Really Work?

WD Life CycleIt seems so simple, almost too simple, how effective are the clean, drain and dry actions in preventing the spread of whirling disease and invasive species?

From oars to inner tubes and flippers to waders, any gear used in water can spread whirling disease or invasive species. By their very nature, aquatic diseases like whirling disease have qualities that allow them to spread and survive adverse conditions. For example, the whirling disease parasite is microscopic and survives in the environment up to 30 years. Whirling disease impacts fish populations, in the Western United States whirling disease caused up to 90% declines in wild fish populations.

The Clean, Drain and Dry practices provide simple and effective direction on how to prevent the spread of whirling disease and aquatic invasive species. Continue reading

The campdown is over – the May long weekend is finally here!

Albertans are eager to get outside and shake off the memory of a long, cold winter. But before you pack up the tent, load the kids and dog into your family vehicle and hit the road for a memorable long weekend adventure, here are a few friendly tips and reminders to keep in mind.

Nature is unpredictable, and your equipment can unexpectedly fail, so planning ahead is the key to an enjoyable and memorable experience.

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Don’t sail through inspection stations – it’s a boat health!

Although spring was slow to arrive this year, yacht to know the aquatic invasive species team has already sprung into action in fight against aquatic invasive species! The mandatory inspection stations have started this year’s search for invasive species on watercraft entering Alberta and have already found the first mussels of 2018 on a sailboat headed for Ghost Lake. When canoe expect all of the stations to be open? They will all have their flashlights out to put a spotlight on these invasive hitchhikers by the end of May, so expect to be inspected!

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