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Citizen science projects

The following project descriptions are in alphabetical order. See volunteer event dates and updates for a chronological list of the current year's projects and dates.

If you are interested in volunteering but unsure what for, contact our Volunteer Coordinator Dianne Pachal. Want to be notified of volunteer events and updates? Fill in the form, submit it to us and we will add you to our volunteer email list.

FREE park entry is provided for all who volunteer on a project.

For more information or to register as a volunteer for any of the following projects, phone 403 859-2224 or fill in the form indicating the name of the project you are interested in within the message box of the form.

What is citizen science?

Citizen science involves professional scientists and everyday people engaged in activities such as biological inventories, long-term monitoring, and scientific research. The goals of citizen science projects are to generate meaningful, useful data that contributes to scientific understanding of a species. That understanding can then be applied to managing species and resources at the park level.

One of the most important components of citizen science is it allows everyday people the chance to gain in-depth knowledge about species found in the park and the issues or threats facing Waterton.

Below is a list of various citizen science projects that volunteers can get involved in.

Bird Count - spring

June - 1st week

In support of Nature Alberta's province-wide program, Waterton Lakes National Park staff contribute to a count of birds in the park during the first weekend of June each year. Previous birding experience is helpful but not necessary. Binoculars are also helpful.

Requirements:

  • Ability to identify at least some birds by sight and call
  • Record sightings and submit data to the count organizer
  • Be prepared for a full day outside and able to find you own way in the park

Volunteer duties:

  • Mark your counting location
  • Travel through a selected area of the park looking for birds and mammals
  • Record and share your sightings

Want to know more or volunteer? Contact Teresa Dolman, Coordinator of the Count for the Lethbridge Naturalists Society.

Bird Count - Christmas

Early December

You'll be surprised at how many different birds can be seen in the start of a Waterton winter; from 12 different species if the weather is really bad on to 38 or more in better weather. Oh, and it's just not birds, we also list the mammals and the tracks that we see.

Ninety-two different bird species have been recorded here in winter. So there's always the allure of the rare one or two that no other Alberta location gets on their count! Like the spring bird count, this event is organised by Nature Alberta in cooperation with the park.

Requirements:

  • Ability to identify at least some birds by sight and call
  • Record sightings and submit data to the count organizer
  • Be prepared for a full day outside and able to find you own way in the park

Volunteer duties:

  • Mark your counting location
  • Travel through a selected area of the park looking for birds and mammals
  • Record and share your sightings

Want to know more or volunteer? Contact Teresa Dolman, Coordinator of the Count for the Lethbridge Naturalists Society.

Butterfly Count

July, 3rd week

Come be a lepidopterist for a day! This is a great opportunity for families, young, old and everybody in between! Join butterfly experts, park staff and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to catch, identify and learn about Waterton’s butterflies.

Requirements:

  • No experience necessary! Just a willingness to learn about and catch Butterflies
  • Be prepared for a full day outside. Bring water and clothing for changeable weather
  • If you have them, bring a camera, butterfly net and field guides

Volunteer duties:

  • Carpool to counting locations within Waterton Lakes National Park during the morning and for those who can stay, in the Waterton Park Front (outside the park) for the afternoon
  • Run and catch butterflies, unharmed, with nets
  • Bring butterflies in the net, to count leaders for identification and then, under direction of count leaders, release them unharmed
Flowering Count

Last Saturday of May

This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the park while looking for and learning some of Waterton’s fantastic plants from an experienced botanist. Annually, on the last weekend of May, Nature Alberta organizes a spring count of what’s in flower. Your Saturday morning sightings contribute to tracking climate-driven changes in the number of plants flowering in the park as part of an Alberta-wide snapshot. 

Requirements:

  • Come prepared for a full day outside
  • Have some basic knowledge of plant identification. An expert is on hand for confirmation of identifications and assistance

Volunteer duties:

  • Identify and count plant species in bloom (noting general location)
  • Coordinate activities with, and submit count information to, project supervisor