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Help Us Record 5,000 Species!

To date, the Georgian Bay Biosphere project has received a total of 79,430 observations with 4,894 distinct species of flora and fauna! 

As a region of global ecological significance, the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere was created to be a community-based organization that strives to inspire people to live and work in harmony with nature. With over 60 species at risk found within the Biosphere, what better way to encourage citizen science and bridge the connection between people and nature than the citizen science app, iNaturalist? 

What is iNaturalist?

iNaturalist is a free to use website and mobile application used by naturalists, citizen scientists, biologists, and those simply interested in learning what species are around them. It is designed to record and share sightings of biodiversity across the globe. With over 115 million observations to date, iNaturalists allows you to improve your identification skills via species identifications that are suggested by the site and community members alike. Not only does it allow you to learn more about the ecology in your own backyard, but it also keeps a record of the species you’ve seen. Along with being a fun tool wherever you go, the information collected by iNaturalist is very useful for scientists who are working to track dispersion, species diversity, or monitor species within a given area. 

iNaturalist and the GBB

In 2020, the Georgian Bay Biosphere launched their own iNaturalist project. By encouraging people within eastern Georgian Bay who use iNaturalist to add their observations to the “Georgian Bay Biosphere Project,” we can create a local biological inventory of species. Knowing which species can be found in the region is the first step in understanding population health, known threats – such as road mortality or habitat loss – and guiding conservation strategies. For its users, iNaturalist is a great way to learn new skills and contribute information that aids the conservation of wildlife. 

Data submitted to this project helps inform the GBB on where to focus monitoring efforts in the future, where mitigation along roads could be best used, and more!

How The Georgian Bay Biosphere Project Works

In 2022, the GBB’s iNaturalist project changed from a ‘traditional’ project to a ‘collection’ project. By converting to a collection project, participants no longer have to select ‘GBB Project’ each time they upload an observation, as all observations are automatically added based on location of sightings.

However, it is important that users manually select to trust the GBB project with their coordinates, otherwise the Biosphere cannot see the exact locations of added observations. More on how to do this below!

Observations within the Biosphere 

To date, the Georgian Bay Biosphere project has received a total of 79,430 observations with 4,894 distinct species of flora and fauna! 

The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) was the species with the highest number of submissions (a total of 730). This was followed closely by the Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) with 712 observations. Despite receiving observations for a host of different organisms, reptiles were by far the most reported, comprising five out of the top ten most observed species. 

Since 2020, 39 unique species at risk have been submitted to our project, which means that over half of the species at risk known to inhabit the eastern Georgian Bay were documented in the biosphere’s iNaturalist project. Some species of note include the Eastern Whip-Poor-Will (Antrostomus vociferus), Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra), Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), and the elusive Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos). 

Non-Native Species

460 introduced and invasive species were recorded in our project’s database, with over 4,673 individual observations. These observations aid in monitoring the spread of invasives as well as developing a greater understanding of the native species they may be outcompeting. Not only do these sightings report the spread of invasive species, but iNaturalist can also serve as a monitoring tool to see how successful efforts to eradicate these species truly are. An example of this can be seen in the extensive coastal Phragmites removal over the past few years.

For observations specific to invasive species, check out to report your sightings.

Join the Project!

If you’d like to join the GBB’s iNaturalist project, we would love to include your observations in our efforts to better understand the species that inhabit eastern Georgian Bay – Mnidoo Gamii. 

To join our project, simply head over to iNaturalist and search for “Georgian Bay Biosphere” under projects ( Once you’ve joined the project, 

  • Head over to the Georgian Bay Biosphere project page and select *Your Membership* (can be found in the “About” section located at the top right of the page)
  • Click Yes to receiving journal notifications (optional)
  • Click Yes, to “Trust this project with hidden coordinates
  • Click Save!

Note: These setting features are not available on the mobile app and must be done on a desktop.

Trusting us with your hidden coordinates is essential as observations with obscured or private coordinates are not visible to researchers unless this option is selected. Users may wish to obscure or private their observations for a variety of reasons, and while selecting this option allows us to view true coordinates, it does not make this information available to the public. 

Observations for species-at-risk are automatically obscured by iNaturalist, however, we strongly recommend privating these observations to protect sensitive species. To learn more about the 60+ Species At Risk in eastern Georgian Bay, head over to

Stay Tuned! This year there will be opportunities to participate in iNaturalist challenges for chances to win monthly prize packs, starting with our wildlife themed challenge taking place in March!

Ready to Host? Interested in doing a bioblitz using iNaturalist? Check out our guide! You Can Help! GBB is a registered Canadian charity and relies on grants and donations to fulfill its mission. You can support our work with a donation of any amount via, thank you!  

Georgian Bay Biosphere Region
Top ten most observed species on GBB’s iNaturalist project
Summary of observations submitted to GBB’s iNaturalist project

Support Your Biosphere

With your support, we can expand our impact in the Georgian Bay region through conservation and education.

We are a registered Canadian charity #87100 1335 RR0001