Alberta Volunteer Amphibian Monitoring Program
Volunteers play a crucial role in wildlife conservation efforts through their involvement in biodiversity-related citizen science projects. The Alberta Volunteer Amphibian Monitoring Program (AVAMP) invites people to engage with nature and to provide unique information on amphibian and reptile distribution and life cycle events. To streamline the way AVAMP participants make and report their observations, we partnered with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute’s (ABMI) free NatureLynx mobile application in 2021/22; however, in April 2022, AMBI ceased supporting the development of their app. As such, no new wildlife sightings were shared with the platform in 2022/23. In place of NatureLynx, we began exploring a new partnership with iNaturalist for 2023/24. iNaturalist is a social network of naturalists, citizen scientists and biologists, and is accessible via its website or mobile applications. iNaturalist mobile applications will allow AVAMP participants to complete data entry in the field. iNaturalist’s community‐driven process for species identification and record validation will ensure the upmost quality of data with minimum resources by Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) to manage. Data submitted to iNaturalist will be accessible by ACA via an AVAMP Project on the platform.
In 2022/23, 51 AVAMP participants submitted 107 amphibian and 15 reptile observations, including locations of three snake hibernacula (dens). These data represented 90% of the amphibian and 44% of the reptile species native to the province. Setting appropriate conservation measures for amphibians and reptiles requires a good understanding of species distributions and timing of life cycle events, which are often based on relatively few data. AVAMP is an example of how ACA can work with a network of enthusiastic volunteers and partners to fill data gaps and positively impact conservation.
Alberta Environment and Protected Areas, volunteer participants
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