This weekend the Nature Conservancy of Canada is asking people heading outdoors to help it out with research while they're enjoying nature this weekend.
The long weekend will be home to the National Backyard Bio Blitz, where people are encouraged to take photos of the plants and animals around them.
Kayla Burak, the Engagement Manager with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, says that they've seen a good amount of uptake in this program over the last two years.
"It's been phenomenal. People have been really engaged with this event because it does have such a hands-on, tangible impact on conservationists across the country. Last year, over 36,000 species observations were made across the country and this information is really used by conservationists so I really want to emphasize that. Invasive species, species that may be new to an area, you never know what you'll find that'll be useful."
The southeast is home to quite a few species that would be of interest to those conservationists.
"Southeast Saskatchewan has some grassland, and if you're out in the prairie grasslands you might find some grassland songbirds like Pipits or Bobolink. You'll get Burrowing Owl if you're in the right area, Ferruginous Hawk, Northern Leopard Frog if you're in a wetland area, so it's a really neat area of the province and you can find a lot of neat species."
Those discoveries can have a big impact on the work they do and can help keep environments in balance.
"It can be quite significant. If you find an invasive species that hasn't been in an area before if it's a plant we know organizations might need to look at different means to try to control that species before it spreads. If you find a species at risk, if there's a nearby organization that can help implement measures to help protect that species, the impacts can be quite significant."
Burak encourages everyone to head outside not just for the data collection, but also for the regular benefits that the outdoors give.
"Over this August long weekend, no matter where you are, whether that's at home, camping, or anywhere in between, go to backyardbioblitz.ca to get more information and grab your phone, download iNaturalist, and check out the plants and animals around you."
"It's a really great way to not only contribute to science and conservation planning but to get outside which is shown to have a lot of benefits for our physical and mental wellbeing, just getting outside and being outdoors in nature."
You can also head to the Nature Conservancy of Canada's website for more information.