The Story of PEI Nature Tracker
In the summer of 2014 Megan Getson with the Kensington North Watersheds Association had been recording pen-and-paper observations of wildlife during her work in the woods and streams. That autumn the watershed group contacted Garry Gregory
, the provincial wildlife biologist. While the data was interesting and useful he wondered if there was an easier way to gather wildlife data into a centralized database.
By the next spring funding was secured from the Wildlife Conservation Fund
to evaluate the best way to provide the province with incidental wildlife information.
So in the spring of 2015 Chris Rice, another watershed employee, started work on a new website to collect wildlife sightings.
After dismissing a few online projects as too unwieldy or too broad, two options were presented to Garry at the first assessment meeting: Nature Tracker and iNaturalist. Both were good options and both were tested during summer 2015.
However Nature Tracker was only a website, so an Android app
was quickly built for the project. By season's end the verdict was that PEI Nature Tracker could be a good reporting tool for the island, and that development should continue.
In 2016, with the help of the PEI Watershed Alliance, Nature Tracker was introduced to watershed groups acros the island.
Also this year an iPhone app
was developed and run on a restricted trial basis. By May 2017 it was listed in the App Store.
In 2017 we partnered with the PEI Invasive Species Council
to customize privacy settings and create more awareness of invasive species.
The main focus of Nature Tracker development has been with the website and database, and the Android app is still listed as 'unreleased' (but usable). It will be a goal to improve both mobile apps in 2018.
Thank you to all our contributors, supporters and users.
Special thanks to Matthew Mackay of Charlottetown who created our owl logo.