Welcome to the Big Backyard BioBlitz!

August 3 - 7, 2023

We’re so glad you’ve signed up! Whether you’re a newly hatched naturalist or an eagle-eyed expert, NCC’s Big Backyard BioBlitz is an amazing way to get to know nature better, enrich your time outdoors and contribute to conservation science.

It’s simple. From August 3 to 7, take photos or audio clips of the plants, birds, insects and other cool creatures around you, wherever you happen to be. Explore solo or bring along your family and friends. The observations you share will deepen our knowledge of Canada’s biodiversity and how to protect it.

Let's get started!

To ensure your contributions are counted as part of this year’s Big Backyard BioBlitz, watch the video or follow the instructions below.

If you have any questions, check out our FAQs.

Start observing in seven simple steps!

  1. Download the easy-to use iNaturalist app to your phone or tablet, or watch the video above for instructions on how to join using your desktop computer.
  2. Create a free account, or sign in if you already have one.
  3. Find and select our project: 2023 Big Backyard BioBlitz.
    • If you’re using the app, projects are at the bottom of the screen (the briefcase icon).
    • If you’re on a desktop, click here or go to the Community option in the top menu of the iNaturalist homepage and select Projects. You can also use the search function.
  4. Once you’ve selected the project, click JOIN to become a member. This will ensure your images and audio clips are automatically captured as part of the collective effort for NCC’s Big Backyard Bioblitz.
  5. Start documenting! Grab your smartphone, tablet or camera and head outside. Take photos or audio recordings to capture the sights and sounds of nature.
  6. Add your observations. If you’re using the app, click the Observe icon to capture your observations within the app. If you’re using the website, use your device to capture photos or sound clips and then upload them at iNaturalist.ca. Don’t have access to the internet while you’re out in nature? Simply upload your observations on the app or to iNaturalist.ca when you’re back online. Just set the date on the file you upload from August 3 and 7, and it will automatically be added to NCC’s Big Backyard BioBlitz project.
  7. Do your best to identify your species. But don’t worry about getting it wrong — iNaturalist community members are there to help!

Ready to go, Newly Hatched Naturalist?

Here are a few good places to start

Identify flowers and trees.
Look for slow-moving creatures like slugs.
Focus on one type of habitat each day: maybe a pond on one outing and a stand of trees the next.
Whatever you pick, the key is to have fun!

Tips, tricks and resources

Photographing mammals
Photographing birds
Photographing plants
Documenting nature without damaging it
Spotting common invasive species

Ready to go, Eagle-eyed Expert?

Here's where your expertise is most valuable

Documenting species that can be challenging for beginners to find, including lichens, mosses, insects and fungi.
Observing invasive species and distinguishing them from native species.
Helping less-experienced participants identify their observations by selecting the “identify” option in iNaturalist and then using the filter menu to search for the 2023 Big Backyard BioBlitz project (just make sure you are signed into your account first).

Tips, tricks and resources

Boost your bioblitzing skills with these simple tips:

Photographing mammals
Photographing birds
Photographing plants
Documenting nature without damaging it
Spotting common invasive species

Enter our daily prize draw using the hashtag #NCCBioBlitz!

Starting on August 3, share a pic on social media using the hashtag #NCCBioBlitz. It could be a cool species you photographed that day, a completed activity sheet or a picture of your family out exploring nature. Share for a chance to win a Nature Conservancy of Canada prize pack and Visa gift card!

Please note that by participating in the contest, you agree to our terms and conditions **.

Kid's Corner

Participating with your kids? Add extra fun with our activity sheets!

Get the kid-friendly Seek app

This iNaturalist add-on makes it easy for junior shutterbugs to get involved in the BioBlitz. When they snap photos of plants and animals, image recognition technology will automatically try to identify the species for them. They can also earn badges for observing different types of species and completing fun challenges.

No registration or logins are required, and no user data is collected. To include your kids’ observations as part of the Big Backyard BioBlitz, simply access your own iNaturalist account from within the Seek app.

Download Seek >


I can't find the Big Backyard BioBlitz project in iNaturalist. Where is it?

If you're using the iNaturalist app, click on the briefcase icon on the bottom of the screen to find a list of projects.

If you're using the iNaturalist website, select "Projects" under the Community menu option at the top of the page. You can also use the search function. Just be sure to search for the whole project name — 2023 Big Backyard BioBlitz — and not the word "bioblitz."

If you're using the app, tap the "Observe" icon to capture your observations. Or you can upload photos and audio recordings saved on your device to the app later.

If you're using the website, click on the green "Upload" button at the top right-hand corner of the screen.

For more help and information, please visit the iNaturalist support website.

Currently, you can only upload still images and sound recordings to iNaturalist. As a workaround, you can upload a screen grab from your video, then upload the video to a site like YouTube or Google Photos, and then link to the video in the observation's description.

Confirm that you have joined the 2023 Big Backyard BioBlitz project. The project link and icon will only appear on the observations you've uploaded if you have joined the project. And don't forget: Only observations made in Canada will be included in the Big Backyard BioBlitz.

To see only your observations, from the BioBlitz project page go to "select all&" in the Recent Observations section. Once you're on the Observations page, select the "filters" option from the top menu. From there you can add your username in the "person" field, click on "update search" and you should see your observations.

When you make an observation using the app, iNaturalist should automatically fetch and display your location. It if doesn't, check to confirm you’ve enabled location services on your device. For iPhones, go to Privacy in the Settings app. For Android, go to App Permissions in the Settings app. If that still doesn't work, you can specify your location manually on the map.

If you're adding an observation to the iNaturalist website (for example, if you're using a camera and uploading your photos when you return to your computer), you'll be asked to include a location. Type in an approximate address and then adjust the map manually as needed.

You can control the geoprivacy of your observations. “Open” means anyone can see the location. "Obscured" will show a general vicinity but not the exact coordinates. "Private" hides the coordinates completely from public view. With both "obscured" and "private" only you and project curators you've given permission to will be able to view the exact coordinates.

iNaturalist automatically obscures the locations of some sensitive species. You will be able to see your observations, but others will not be able to see the exact location. If you have concerns about the species you have observed, and it is not automatically obscured, you can obscure it yourself.

Yes! As long as you have already joined the project in iNaturalist and your files are date stamped to August 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7, your observations will still be counted as part of the 2023 Big Backyard BioBlitz.

When you add an observation to iNaturalist, identify the species as best as you can, even if it’s as simple as “plant,” “insect,” “bird,” etc. Other users will help confirm or improve your identification, as long as it includes a photo or sound recording, location and date.

We encourage you to focus on organisms you spot in the wild, not pets, garden plants, etc. If you do share an observation of a potted geranium, for example, checking the “captive/cultivated” option under “details” lets people know that the species you’ve photographed isn’t naturally found in the wild at that location.

More questions? Visit the iNaturalist help page.


Please email events@natureconservancy.ca.

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