Butterfly enthusiasts and amateur naturalists alike have delighted over eButterfly since its launch in Canada in 2012. Last week, the crowd-sourced community science platform was named as a finalist in the Nature Inspiration Awards 2021. Each year, the awards recognize the achievements of organizations and individuals whose work inspires Canadians to get more involved in understanding and protecting nature.
“We were thrilled and humbled for being listed as a finalist for this award with such an amazing list of other conservation initiatives,” said Rodrigo Solis, eButterfly Human Network and Data Coordinator. eButterfly was one of four finalists in the “small to medium non-profits” category.
Although it wasn’t chosen as the overall winner, eButterfly’s nomination represents a new milestone and demonstrates this platform’s growing, far-reaching impact. So far, community scientists have submitted more than 460,000 observations and over 100,000 checklists in North America alone. This year, eButterfly also joined the ranks of projects whose data are shared with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, making them available to scientists and conservation professionals world-wide. And all this is still just the beginning—while eButterfly is currently only available in the Americas, from Canada south to Panama and the Caribbean, its sights are set on global availability in spring of 2022.
The burgeoning prominence and continued expansion of this platform represents an important addition to the tools at conservation professionals’ fingertips. “Butterflies act as early warning signals for habitat degradation, climate change, and other ecological forces,” explains Kent McFarland, VCE biologist and eButterfly co-director. “With the data collected by community scientists, conservation professionals can better understand the state of butterflies around the world and implement effective measures that protect them and other species of interest using the best available science.”
If you haven’t used eButterfly before, visit their website and start planning your butterfly excursions! You don’t need to be a butterfly expert to participate—other users and professionals help vet your identifications, ensuring their accuracy.
Want to read more updates from eButterfly? You can check out their latest news here.
Photo by Kent McFarland