Citizen Scientist volunteer. Photo: Simon Smith
By Steven Price, President, Birds Canada
We want to touch base with you, as one of our Birds Canada volunteers, regarding the impact of COVID-19. Spring is just around the corner and several of our volunteer Citizen Science programs are starting soon or are already underway. We are very appreciative of the time and effort you put into making our Citizen Science projects succeed, but we are first and foremost concerned with the safety and health of all of our volunteers, including you!
To repeat: your health and safety are paramount. We hope that you are well and are taking steps to stay well and keep others well. At all times, we encourage you to follow the advice of your provincial and local public health agencies, when deciding whether you should carry on with your survey activities. The general statement from Birds Canada regarding COVID-19 is on our website here. More specific information for you, as a survey volunteer, follows.
Please take your own personal situation into account. If you cannot or do not wish to complete your surveys this year, that is fine, and please let us know by reply email to your Birds Canada contact. Please do not worry that some data may be missed for one season! Thanks to year-over-year support from wonderful people like you, our surveys and analyses are robust, addressing long-term trends. As such, they will be able to accommodate occasional gaps in data.
Please keep in mind the following:
- Put the well-being of your family, friends, community and yourself first. If you feel that you are putting yourself or others at risk by conducting your survey, then please do not survey.
- If, after reviewing your provincial and local public health recommendations and regulations for your area, you feel you are safe to survey without impacting your health or that of others, feel free to do so.
- If your survey location is accessed through public lands, please double-check access and ensure that the location is still open to visitors.
- If your survey location is away from home, e.g. beyond a short drive or outside your county, then please do not survey.
- Try to limit the number of people involved in your activity (e.g., go with one survey partner), avoid carpooling, and practise social distancing.
- If you feel you can only achieve partial surveys, please conduct only the portion of a survey that you can manage safely.
Again, if you feel you cannot undertake your survey or parts of it, that’s fine! In this case, please contact your Birds Canada survey coordinator.
Thank you for your continued support, stay well and keep others well!