Backyard BioBlitz: 

Wildlife at the Waterhole

I’ve been struggling to connect to nature during the pandemic. I think we often get caught up in the notion of wilderness because we are taught that it exists far away, as the opposite of civilization. This separates our day-to-day lives from our impacts on the natural world. William Cronan famously voiced these concerns in his piece: The Trouble With Wilderness, or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature. To help connect you back to nature, I’ve created a new DIY project that lets you appreciate the wilderness that exists all around us, inspired by my favourite book growing up: The Water Hole by Graeme Base.

 

A bio blitz is a citizen-science initiative, where you document as many species as you can find in a given area over a given time. For this bio blitz, the area will be our DIY waterholes and the time frame will be 3 days. Not all of us live near the water, but all species on earth require water for life. Southern Ontario has lost over 70% of its wetlands, and while we can’t all recreate wetlands in our backyards, we can create your own backyard waterholes!

Check out some intro resources here to learn more: 

Introduction to Bio Blitz


The Water Hole Book

The Trouble with Wilderness: Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature Author(s): William Cronon Source: Environmental History, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan., 1996), pp. 7-28

SUPPLIES

I used a plastic ramen container, and an old serving dish!

You will need...

 

  • Container 

  • Watering Can 

  • Weight

Optional Supplies...

 

  • Wildlife Camera 

  • Batteries 

  • Mirco SD / SD Card

Mine was $54 on amazon

Rocks make great weights

INSTRUCTIONS

Change this water every 2 days

  1. Clean your container and weight

  2. Find a low traffic spot in your backyard 

  3. Place your weight at the bottom of the container and fill with water from your watering can 

  4. Record what wildlife comes for a drink

  5. Download the INaturalist App on your smartphone

  6. Create an account and upload your images to document your local biodiversity 

 

Wildlife Camera Option ​

  1. Insert batteries and SD / Micro SD card

  2. Update settings to include date and time for accurate readings 

  3. Choose picture mode and resolution 

  4. Take a test picture to ensure your camera is operating! 

  5. Attach it to a tree, pot, or garden object pointed at your waterhole

  6. Check the photos to see who came for a drink!

  7. Document the biodiversity by uploading your pictures and GPS location to inaturalist

(Its free on the app store)

make sure you know which one you need!

(Don't forget to check under your waterhole for bugs!)

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Try different heights of waterholes

  • Swap your disposable batteries from renewable ones 

  • Find a spot where you can view the watering hole while hidden to get some great pictures!

FEEL GOODS

Southern Ontario has lost a majority of its wetland. By adding a watering hole to your backyard, you are giving many of these animals access to fresh water that once existed across this area! 

 

By uploading your images to inaturalist, scientists can access your data to contribute to their own research initiatives. Your entries can contribute directly to science. 

 

Fight against Cronan’s “The Trouble with Wilderness”, as you appreciate the nature that exists all around you!

Send us a message or post @talesforgaia on Instagram to let us know who comes for a drink!

Someone on our team is always happy to chat - from initial tale development to posting your final draft. Check out our contact form above and we will be in touch!

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