A new South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI) project, entitled Biodiversity of Prince Edward County’s ‘South Shore’ has been established on iNaturalist to help record the incredible biodiversity of the South Shore. iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature. SSJI’s board member, John Lowry has initiated the project. He is an active contributor to iNaturalist with his expertise, photography and time.

Biodiversity, in short, is the variety of life in the world or a particular habitat or ecosystem.

Here in the Quinte region, we are incredibly fortunate to have a local ‘hotspot’ for biodiversity in the South Shore of Prince Edward County. This salient fact is one of the core reasons why SSJI was established back in 2018, with the goal of promoting the preservation and protection of this diverse region. Further, in 2023 SSJI identified biodiversity and the ongoing collection of data pertaining to that subject as one of its five strategic pillars.

In furtherance of this goal, SSJI has established a ‘collection’ project on iNaturalist to record past, present and future observations of the many examples of biodiversity along the South Shore. Click here to view the project on iNaturalist.

iNaturalist is a non-profit social network of naturalists, citizen scientists and biologists built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe. Access to the iNaturalist network is via the website.

It works on the simple premise that individuals record their observations of natural phenomena, either by a photo or sound recording, and submit those observations to the iNaturalist website. Submissions can be made using the iNaturalist phone app or directly to the iNaturalist website using a computer.

To aid users in identifying species when they upload their observations, iNaturalist uses an automated species identification tool. This tool was first released in 2017 and is upgraded annually.

iNaturalist provides valuable open data to research projects, land managers, other organizations and the public. The data collected using this tool is invaluable in assessing the present biodiversity of a region, as well as recording trends in that biodiversity. The information can provide researchers with important data on such diverse issues as the emergence of invasive species and the decline of native species.

For questions regarding participation, please email John Lowry.


Monarch Roost, Monarch Point Conservation Reserve, September 2023; photo by John Lowry