A project by the Laboratory of Possibilities
Connecting humans to nature is at the heart of Space for Life's mission, which is carried out through a quality program dedicated to its visitors and its many communities. The Space for Life Biodiversity Challenge takes this mission beyond its museums by promoting the exploration of the biodiversity that surrounds us and by sharing observations of biodiversity with both researchers and the Biodiversity Challenge community itself.
With the goal of collecting 100,000 biodiversity observations by December 31, 2020, the Biodiversity Challenge is setting the stage so that the benefits of connecting with nature can be combined with those of biodiversity protection.
Participation in the Biodiversity Challenge helps to mitigate many of the negative effects of the pandemic on the population at large. During observation-based outings dedicated, which are concrete actions in and of themselves, each participant gets to experience the sense of well-being that nature brings, all the while contributing to science. And through the philanthropic program associated with the Challenge, thanks to the Space for Life Foundation which will support Space for Life projects related to the benefits of nature on mental health.
A Challenge to fund mental health initiatives
Important research confirms that connecting with nature allows humans to better manage their stress and has a powerful positive impact on their mental health. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in Quebec as elsewhere in the world, one of the main challenges that has recently emerged is directly related to mental health issues. Confinement and overcrowding or isolation, illness and bereavement, overwork or job loss, worry and anxiety—these are some of the many factors that are putting tremendous pressure on the mental health of citizens of all ages, from all walks of life, and in all countries.
One of the innovative aspects of The Biodiversity Challenge is its contribution to the community through its philanthropic component. The Space for Life Foundation is appealing to its donors to provide support by making a donation for each observation submitted. The money raised will be paid into a dedicated fund and reinvested in Montréal Space for Life’s projects related to the benefits of nature on the mental health of citizens.
Through the societal component of the project, we hope to help counter the nature deficit that has been exacerbated by the current context.
A participatory science project
Biodiversity Challenge observations will be hosted on iNaturalist, a worldwide, online, participatory-science-focused social network based on the concept of sharing observations. The observations recorded as part of the Challenge will be added to the open database and will be useful to scientific research projects, conservation agencies and other organizations dedicated to protecting biodiversity.
Space for Life is proud to make its expertise available outside its walls to offer everyone the opportunity to connect with nature, document biodiversity and participate in its monitoring—for research and educational purposes—as well as to have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of participants.