Core Activities

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions we get with regards to the atlas and the submission of data. Do you have a question that you're not getting an answer to somewhere on this website? Let us know and we'll add it here.


I have some data to report, but its not from within the 5 counties. Is my data still relevant? Should I submit it? [Answer]

What about overlap with other volunteer monitoring projects like Frogwatch, TurtleTally, Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP), etc...? [Answer]

I see the same turtle in my pond every day. Do you want me to submit a sighting for every time/day that I see it? [Answer]

Do the reptiles and amphibians that I see have to be alive? [Answer]

What if I find an old empty turtle shell or a snake skin? Do I report that? [Answer]

I counted eight painted turtles basking on a log. Would that be reported as eight sightings? [Answer]

I stopped by my neighbourhood pond yesterday and heard three green frogs and one bullfrog, and I saw a snapping turtle. Can that all go on one form? [Answer]

I have data but its from before 2009. Can that be included? [Answer]

How do I get a copy of those free laminated ID cards? [Answer]

Do you have any resources for teachers? [Answer]

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I have some data to report, but its not from within the 5 counties. Is my data still relevant? Should I submit it?
Yes. Proximal areas outside of the five counties can still be reported. Some examples include Arnprior, Calabogie, Frontenac Provincial Park, or the Québec side of the Ottawa River. If you collect data from elsewhere in Ontario, please use the all-Ontario reporting form. [Top of Page]

What about overlap with other volunteer monitoring projects like Frogwatch, TurtleTally, Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP), etc...?
If you participate in one or more other citizen science programs, continue to submit your data to them as per their protocols. To avoid data duplication, we are working on establishing data-sharing relationships with these programs so that they will forward the necessary sightings info to the atlas for you. You would only need to tell us about sightings of species not included in those other tallies. For example, if you are doing a yearly call count route for the MMP, you won't need to submit the frog and toad occurrence data from your stations. You should report any snake, turtle, lizard, or salamander observations directly to the atlas, as well as any frog and toad observations that were not recorded as part of your MMP station tallies. [Top of Page]

I see the same turtle in my pond every day. Do you want me to submit a sighting for every time/day that I see it?
No. If you are reasonably sure that you're seeing the same animal, you only need to report it once. If there are particular locations that you plan to revisit regularly, consider waiting 2-4 weeks between visits. [Top of Page]

Do the reptiles and amphibians that I see have to be alive?
No. Roadkills or other herp carcasses can be reported too. Roadkills, in fact, represent especially important data since we learn about species distribution as well as potential threats to populations. We will be forwarding roadkill data to the Ontario Road Ecology Group so that it can contribute to their research. It is important that you indicate whether or not you are confident with the identification, but an unidentified snake or turtle is still valuable road mortality data. [Top of Page]

What if I find an old empty turtle shell or a snake skin? Do I report that?
Old body parts can be reported as an occurrence so long as you feel that you can still identify the species with 100% confidence. [Top of Page]

I counted eight painted turtles basking on a log. Would that be reported as eight sightings?
No. You should report multiple instances of the same species seen at the same time and at the same location only once. Your report would consist of one occurrence of that species at that location on that date, including the number of individuals observed. The general rule is one data record per species per location per date. Any individuals observed within 100 meters of each other, or within the same definable area such as a pond, can be considered to be in the same location. If individuals are observed within obviously different habitats (such as a wetland and a forest) you may wish to report them separately to indicate different habitat use (or make a note in the comments). [Top of Page]

I stopped by my neighbourhood pond yesterday and heard three green frogs and one bullfrog, and I saw a snapping turtle. Can that all go on one form?
No. You should report instances of multiple species seen at the same time and at the same location once per species. In the example above, you would complete 3 forms (i.e., one for each species). The general rule is one data record per species per location per date. [Top of Page]

I have data but its from before 2009. Can that be included?
Yes. If your data hasn't already been submitted to the NHIC's Ontario Herpetofaunal Summary, we strongly encourage you to report data (and submit photos or recordings) from 2008 or earlier. Any photos from before 2009 will not, however, be eligible for photo contest prizes. [Top of Page]

How do I get a copy of those free laminated ID cards?
Free laminated ID cards are available through the Eastern Ontario Model Forest office or your local stewardship council. Cards can also be purchased from the Toronto Zoo. [Top of Page]

Do you have any resources for teachers?

Yes. In addition to the laminated ID cards, we have a limited supply of turtle or amphibian posters (sorry, no snake posters) and stewardship activity books. We also have some disposable cameras, small GPS units, and digital recorders (for calling amphibians) that can be borrowed. [Top of Page]

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Assistance for this project was provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources

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The Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk

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This project is supported by Ontario Nature

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