WildResearch’s innovative programs are each designed to achieve three goals:
- To contribute to conservation science
- To provide our members with training and education in conservation science
- To conduct conservation outreach
With these goals in mind, we currently operate three core programs.
- The Iona Island Bird Observatory (IIBO) monitors populations of wintering and migratory birds in an ecologically important park in Richmond, British Columbia. Our winter monitoring program is unique in western Canada and aims to estimate survivorship of over-wintering songbirds. Our spring and fall migration monitoring programs contribute to migration monitoring along the Pacific Flyway, and we also partner with local academic institutions to conduct additional ornithological research. At IIBO, we provide volunteers with hard-to-obtain skills in safe bird capture, handling, and measurement, and many of our volunteers go on to use their skills to conduct their own conservation science research. In addition, hundreds of elementary school, highschool, and university students visit IIBO every year to learn about bird conservation and study.
- The WildResearch Nightjar Survey collects data on a group of birds of conservation concern. Nightjars are understudied due to their nocturnal habits, and several species are listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Under the WildResearch Nightjar Survey, citizen scientists across western Canada conduct nocturnal road-side surveys for Common Nighthawks, Common Poorwills, and Eastern Whip-poor-wills. Data collected by the Nightjar Survey provides a baseline for population monitoring and is used for research on habitat associations and nightjar study methods. By participating, citizen scientists learn how to identify nightjars and conduct bird surveys. Outreach initiatives include orientation sessions and a bi-monthly newsletter on nightjar conservation.
- Our Butterfly Monitoring program contributes to the BC Butterfly Atlas. Our surveys help document the distribution and abundance of butterflies across British Columbia. Members gain training in butterfly identification and survey methods through participating in our surveys and our annual Butterfly Workshop. We conduct outreach by participating in local butterfly conservation events.
In 2015, we also introduced a Cooper’s Hawk nest monitoring pilot program. We are currently assessing that program for expansion as a core program.
In addition to our programs, we run regular conservation science training and outreach events. Examples include workshops in winter bird identification, resume writing for conservation biologists, and fish identification. We also run an annual pelagic seabird trip that provides nature enthusiasts the chance to see species rarely seen from shore.